6 predictions for this summer
As the days start getting lighter and the vaccine continues to roll out, we now have a roadmap from the government to bring that bit more hope we all need. In this blog, I discuss 6 key market trends for foodservice we predict for this summer.
To help us understand what the future might hold, and the short term fads that could turn into long term trends, I had the pleasure of speaking to my colleagues Justine Hopkinson from Bidfood New Zealand and Shonay Shaw from Bidfood Australia on our podcast this week, to hear what we can learn from how their out of home industries have adapted since reopening.
Here’s a summary of what we discussed:
1. Staying local
Close to home has become more important than close to work, with consumers avoiding city centres and exploring their local area. Even when restrictions ease, we think this will continue with travelling a distance to a destination less likely. So get on board this longer term trend and seize the opportunity to promote your local business (you can listen to our podcast and read our blog on how to use social media to promote).
2. Being kind
We have seen so much kindness over the last year, with local communities, individuals and businesses coming together to support the vulnerable. Consumers are looking for brands to do the same by giving back, and we expect kindness to become an increasingly important factor for consumers’ purchasing decisions. The secret is to do this in an authentic way that’s true to your brand and build kindness into your business’ DNA.
3. Menu simplification
The average dish count was down 22% in spring/summer 2020 (Lumina), as operators looked to control costs, manage staff reductions, and reduce waste – all of which will be a challenge for reopening. Looking at consumer preferences, both quality and value are now in the top spot (CGA brandtrack) meaning operators will need to continue to balance costs with consumer experience by optimising menus – especially when restrictions start to ease. But what do our colleagues in Australasia have to say about it?
- Don’t be afraid to keep it simple.
- Stick to your customers’ favourites and do them well.
- Scale back on the number of items on the plate if needed.
If 2020 was the year of the staycation, then 2021 is set to be even bigger since 40% of consumers that are planning to take a holiday this year are expecting to do so within the UK (Lightspeed Mintel). It will be a competitive market so promote, promote and promote to stand out! Think about how your business can re-create the experience of a trip abroad with the little added extras from the moment of arrival, to packing up. It’s also a good idea to think about the types of holidays you will be catering for – family breaks, couple’s retreats, wellness breaks, nature escapes, city breaks – and plan menus and occasions to match.
5. Changing spaces
Operators were forced to tap into new sales opportunities when the pandemic hit, leading to the blurring of the boundaries between foodservice and traditional retail, with new creative spaces popping up. We’ve seen pubs selling retail products, convenience stores offering coffee, and underutilised hotel kitchens being used as dark kitchens. Within workplace, businesses are weighing up the pros and cons of office and home working, with a future hybrid model very much on the cards. We think this trend is only set to continue further and presents exciting opportunities for businesses to innovate and find ways adapt space to meet consumers’ changing needs.
6. Outdoor dining
We have seen igloos and tepees popping up all over the UK as operators find innovative ways to serve diners outside – in the cold! With almost 50% of operators planning to invest in outdoor dining (Lumina), and consumers saying they will continue to dine outdoors in winter if areas are adapted, there is a brilliant opportunity for operators that goes far beyond the social distancing and hygiene element. Longer term outdoor dining presents an excellent opportunity for more covers, theatre and ambience. Dining outdoors can be a fun and experiential occasion that taps straight into consumers’ desire for value for money and experiences – I am thinking fairy lights, cosy seating areas and themed menus as a start. In my conversation with Shonay from Australia I learnt that their focus is on keeping menus simple, keeping the format casual, creating ambience – oh and not forgetting the outdoor heaters!
Listen to the podcast to hear the full conversation.
Read our 10 steps back to business blog
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