The excitement is already building. March 29th, April 12th, May 17th and June 21st – these dates are now more important than remembering our wedding anniversary! The days are getting longer, the sun is peaking through the trees and we are all beside ourselves with excitement that we might be able to go out to eat and drink with our friends and family.
The last year has been ridiculously hard, lock-down, open up, go out to dinner, don’t go out to drink, tiers, more tiers, lockdown and now, finally, a roadmap to opening up. But let’s keep this blog positive and focus on what the hard-hit hospitality industry should be doing, right now to get our businesses ‘roadmap ready’.
So, what’s changed? Quite a lot actually and we could make a huge list, but as experts in the hospitality industry, and with food and drink in our hearts, we have picked out the 4 big changes that we think make a difference.
#Change 1 – Online Rules
We’re locked up at home; shops and restaurants are closed, and the weekly shop is being delivered. Many of us are working from home and we are on our laptops/phones all day. A study by Deloitte into Digital Consumer Trends found that the lockdown “acted as a catalyst: speeding up consumers digital adoption and introducing new trends at a rate few could have predicted.” The research goes on to surmise that how a company embraces their digital assets could be a key indicator of how they perform in the future. Right now, restaurants, cafes, hotels, universities etc. are making plans to reopen and they will need ingredients and catering equipment – upgrades, replacements or information on what’s new that can help them to give a better service to their returning customers. You can’t pop in to see them yet, but you can use your digital assets to give them the information they need. Whether it’s taking advantage of the many digital options that multimedia publishers have rapidly developed in the last year, ensuring that your communication and PR is getting into the right places online, or simply making sure that you have a social media strategy and messages that engage your customer, online is here to stay (but that doesn’t mean it should be our sole focus).
#Change 2 - Eat Out, Out
Takeaway or delivery, both have boomed. Delivery firm Just Eat reported that in the UK, orders surged by almost 400% in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. With pubs, cafes and restaurants closed to eat-in, takeaway reigned supreme as we refused to give up our morning latte, lunch toastie and sweet afternoon treat. As such, operators have been looking for catering equipment that maximises speed and minimises contact, whilst ensuring high quality food and drink. Pubs that may never have considered takeaway before have battled to stay open and welcomed customers who pick up from the side door, and many forecasters believe that this trend will continue in the short/medium term as we start to open up.
#Change 3 - Make Me A Cake…
…or afternoon tea, or dinner, that I can finish off at home. Local communities have sprung to life with all sorts of businesses who are making cakes, biscuits and treats or delivering afternoon tea boxes or meals. Chefs who may have found themselves out of an income over lockdown have set up from their homes and our social media feeds (particularly Facebook) are buzzing as these businesses try to capture our interest. For suppliers to the industry, these businesses are potentially the fully fledged restaurants, coffee shops and event caterers of tomorrow. Engaging with them now, albeit in a small way as they look for ingredients and equipment, can leave you perfectly placed to be the ones they turn to when they are opening their 1st, 5th, or even 50th outlet years down the line.
#Change 4 – Are You From Round Here?
Provenance has soared, driven by a desire to help local businesses, driven by Brexit and driven by health and aspirations to eat better quality products with ingredients we can actually pronounce. Our social media feeds, are awash with British companies who are supplying food, drinks and other products they have made locally. If you are manufacturing in the UK or growing in Great Britain it can sometimes be hard to get yourself heard amongst everyone, but that is exactly why we exist, to ensure that our clients are at the forefront of the message rather than being a voice in the crowd.
So, they are our top 4 changes, of course there’s lots more going on and change is our middle name so if you need a hand or a different perspective, then give us a call to help.