Drivers of change

EP reveals the emerging industry trends

There are many articles written about the changes taking place in foodservice in hospitality, but what are the prevailing trends of 2016?

It is important to understand market trends and influences as this determines the desires, expectations and demands of clients. Underlying it all, there is a theme of a return to almost old-fashioned values coupled with modern tastes and communications. This includes:

  • Strong personal service ethos and personal interaction Ð to make the customer feel important and the priority once again.
  • The brand is not as important as the overall service and substance on offer.
  • High standards and fashion sense – sexy, smart and classical.
  • Genuine recipes and authentic tastes.
  • Real fresh produce.
  • A combination of music and the arts with food and beverage.
  • Strong food and beverage options.
  • A feel of indulgence.
    It could almost be a scene from a Cary Grant movie of the 50s but combined with:
  • International foods and flavours.
  • Modern technology and communication.
  • 24/7 service.

Cuisine drivers of change

We often argue that the market has changed more in the last five years than in the previous 15. Change is taking place at speed in every aspect of daily life Ð service, eating habits, environment, design, and communications. So what are the drivers of change at this time?

  • The consumer today is eating out far more and is more knowledgeable of cuisines from across the world.
  • There is real pressure on well-established cuisines to renovate their offer. This is taking place with Indian restaurants in the UK who are now looking for the next generation on offer. It is also happening with coffee and burgers. Both the latter are on their 4th reinvention.
  • Consumers want to delve deeper and understand more. This means increased regionality and authenticity.
  • Through smartphones and modern technology, spend can be increased and service levels can be improved.  Starbucks believe they have increased customer spend through their app by  20% through pre-ordering. There are many other operations who believe  spend has increased through pre-ordering via an app.

Bar drivers of change
For many years, bars were almost functional, often a touch dull and their atmospheres relied almost entirely on the life within the audience. However this has been changing and today operators understand that well-designed, welcoming bars can attract new custom through their energy. However, the new generation bar is about its spirits, cocktails and the service levels. Bars are about service and beverage and the customer needs to be entertained and inspired.
Service drivers of change

One of the major changes taking place in the market is in relation to service – the welcome and how people are met and greeted. Over 70% of customers will decide upon their experience – within five minutes – by the way they are greeted on arrival at either a hotel or restaurant. One of the key areas of investment has therefore been on:

  • The welcome.
  • Uniforms and “creation of a great first impression”.
  • Service ethos.

Research has shown that a great welcome will relax the customer, build confidence and increase spend by over 15%.

The market drivers for the consumer

  • Affordability – there is more confidence in the economy, which is leading to increased spends but it is important that the prices are fair and reasonable. There is a preference for affordable cuisine and relaxed environments over fine dining.
  • Authentic – there is real interest and desire for great produce and genuine recipes with legacy.
  • The key consumer influences are:

– Value for money
– Informality
– Premiumisation
– Indulgence
– Healthy eating
– Provenance

  • The Eating Out seesaw is tipping towards ÔwowÕ foods and away from worthy foods.
  • Key influencing trends include: Responsible consumption Ð for example, Loch Fyne, Leon, Pod and Itsu

– Inspirational adventurism – Middle Eastern, Peruvian

  • Key engagement trends:

– Brunch
– Arts and food combined
– Bar-side dining
– Street foods
– Visual eating – Burger and Lobster
– Old style music and eating

  • There are a number of new trends taking place especially in Third Space areas, the social surroundings in an operation separate from the two usual social environments of home. In London we are seeing a rise in members clubs where a member can just go and relax or meet a client in a unique environment that is informal, modern but personal. Soho House has been a leading exponent of this trend and we are seeing many more on the increase. The key attributes are:

– A good bar and beverage service
– Very personal service
– A quiet area for relaxation. In the old days this may have been a library but today we are seeing this innovated so that there are music stations whereby a guest can put on some headphones and listen to a record or music

So it’s all change in the world of foodservice and hospitality in 2016 Ð and clearly all for the better for the customer.