Haven’t made it to a Be the Business Masterclass yet? Here’s one of the most popular topics we’ve covered – for anyone who missed it.
Businesses that rest on their laurels seldom prosper, and perhaps nowhere is this more true than in the fast-moving hospitality sector. What was “in” last year might not be a crowd-puller today, meaning that ever-more discerning customers may quickly turn their backs on what once seemed like a sure-fire hit.
As attendees to one of our most popular Masterclasses have discovered, it always pays to keep an eye on what is trending within the industry.
“It’s not so much about your business,” said Jon Yantin of Stake Concepts, the hospitality expert who runs the Be the Business Masterclasses, “it’s more about what else your consumers have been exposed to as you target them. How can you influence their decision-making process and their buying decisions so that they choose you over the next best competitor in town?”
Jon said that not all 12 hospitality trends will be relevant to every business, but that at least a couple should offer food for thought. “You probably want to be in the first quartile when adopting one of these trends if you can,” he added, “because it means you will be adding value to your business.” As soon as you’re in the last quartile, however, you risk being a mere also-ran.
12 hospitality trends
1. Ghost kitchens
Typically found on industrial estates and devoid of chairs, tables or signage, these cater to the home-delivery market and can create menu items for multiple different brands under one roof. If you’re a hotel or restaurant and your last service is at 10.30pm, is there an opportunity for extending the use of the kitchen to serve home-delivery customers into the small hours?
People are exposed to ever-more interesting experiences in and around town – think everything from axe-throwing to digital Topgolf – and many of these essentially exist to sell customers food and drink. Overlaying an experiential element can give customers a reason to choose you over your competitors.
3. CBD infused
CBD is a fast-growing market – and one which may offer new possibilities to certain kinds of business. Fundamentally, owners need to be aware of trends like this so they understand what the consumer is exposed to in their wider shopping choices, said Jon. CBD-infused tea, anyone?
4. Non-alcoholic premium libations
Younger people are drinking less than older generations, and their demand for non-alcoholic drinks are best being met by those businesses that can provide the widest choice. There has been an explosion in premium non-alcoholic drinks, for example, including a multitude of £20+ bottles of alcohol-free spirits.
5. Plant-based choices
We’re living in an ever-more vegan-friendly world, and while this has multiple positive environmental implications, it’s important to remember that the plant-based option isn’t the healthiest choice every time. Consider the provenance and ingredients from all angles and ensure that customers and staff are well informed.
Almost anything can be gamified – it’s the process of adding a fun/gaming element to a non-gaming environment. An example being VitalityHealth’s free Starbucks to customers who complete a certain number of steps. Gamification also flows into staff training. For example, if staff in the hospitality sector are using online training portals and complete the requisite hours, they can be rewarded.
7. Environmental concerns impacting consumer choices
This is particularly evident in the restaurant and fast-food sector, where consumers are starting to question the amount of meat they eat, whether or not the products they buy are ethically sourced, whether packaging is recyclable and so on. There is an opportunity to embrace these concerns and position businesses accordingly.
8. Going head-to-head with the gig economy
The gig economy in the UK has doubled in size in a decade, taking untold numbers of workers with it. To lure them back, the hospitality sector will need to look at ways to become great employers and, perhaps, consider once-marginalised groups of people when hiring.
9. Pay to dwell
Remote working is on the rise, and this presents opportunities for businesses with premises where these people want to linger. One option has been dubbed “pay to dwell”, which charges users of a space a fee for the privilege.
10. Competition in the most unlikely of places
The world of ecommerce is threatening traditional retail like never before. At the same time, bricks-and-mortar stores are diversifying to try and increase visitor spend – think food halls in department stores and bookstores adding coffee shops. Businesses in the hospitality sector need a wide-angle lens to spot threats and opportunities.
11. Mass adoption of customer technology
Not only can tech help to streamline operations in the hospitality sector, customers are starting to expect it. The experts predict that 2020 will be remembered as the year when smaller brands also see the benefit of investing in customer tech to help with pre-ordering or in-store digital ordering.
12. Food delivery comes of age
Deliveroo may have reported a 72 per cent hike in sales last year, but many restaurants still see meals prepared for home delivery as a mere add-on. Is the time right to take a more strategic approach, with dedicated senior leaders focused on boosting both service and profitability?
For more on our upcoming hospitality Masterclasses, or to book your place, head here.