Food and Hospitality Trends for 2018
In 2017 we saw the rise of healthy foods, sustainable options, the introduction of more vegan restaurants and vegan alternatives and a growth in food delivery services. It showed that consumers are becoming more and more aware of the foods that they are purchasing and their impacts on environment and sustainability that these choices make. And technology advancements have been embraced by businesses and are starting to help businesses grow and expand their reach.
With a New Year comes more ever evolving trends for hospitality venues to try and cater to. Here is out interpretation of what things may grow in popularity in 2018.
Health will still rise
Since 2017 was a huge year that focused on a lot of health food trends, with the rise of the poke bowl, the booming need for customer transparency in regards to food origins and the highly regarded paddock to plate concept, 2018 looks set for the same. Increasing popularity in healthier options have seen an increase in businesses like superfood bars already and the more consumers are educated and conscious of their choices the more that need will further grow. So having your business adapt and embrace different menu items that correlate to these trends can help increase revenue, attract new customers and could be a positive step towards future proofing your business.
With consumers becoming more educated on sustainability, the shift for hospitality venues to be socially responsible is higher than ever.
The Queensland Government is introducing the ban of single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags which commences on 1 July this year, so the demand for venues to progressively respond and adopt more responsible and ethical business models is growing. Ways to incorporate this could include offering your customers a discount if they use their own coffee cup, evidently showing a reduction of food waste, a ban on single use plastic straws, and sourcing local produce when possible. Openly promoting all of these efforts to your customers shows your support for these conservation measures and will demonstrate to your conscious consumers that your business is embracing this shift.
Service is everything
As customers are loving convenience and lots are embracing home delivery, hospitality businesses are needing to ensure they are providing exceptional customer service to continue their on going in-house success. Providing Gold standard service is becoming increasingly essential within the hospitality industry and maintaining this high level is a way to encourage repeat customer visits. To be able to offer this kind of customer service requires your staff to be both well trained and happy. So making sure as a business you are reviewing your workflows and making sure your staff understand the technology and equipment they use daily and also listening to their concerns and making sure they are happy within the workplace you provide.
The rise of Technology
Slowly hospitality venues have started to shift towards embracing more automated, streamlined services that are becoming more readily available thanks to the rise of technology.
Convenience is key
It’s no surprise, people are busier than ever and let's face it, nobody likes waiting in a queue. So offering your customers the most convenient way to order food and check out is a high demand. Enter online ordering ahead apps. These order ahead apps like Boppl and Mobi2Go offer your customers complete freedom to order the food that they want and for when they want to pick it up. This concept will only continue to grow in popularity and it can help increase your customer reach and promote return business.
Making a reservation
In the year ahead we will see customers reverting back to the idea of reservations although not in a traditional sense, but rather online. Jared Chapman, Dimmi’s managing director, says, "Online reservations are becoming the new norm, as consumers just want to be able to book whenever, and wherever, as easily as possible." So making it as transparent and simple as it possibly can be for your patrons to select and book a table at your venue is a big movement. And with numerous different online booking applications being able to integrate directly into your Point of Sale system the simplicity isn't just for your customers anymore but can be embraced by the venue managers and business owners also as no one has to manually answer reservation calls and manage bookings.
Food Delivery attracts new customers
With the growing amount of third party delivery services available for businesses and more and more customers enjoying eating restaurant quality meals within the comfort of their own home this trend is only expected to continue to grow. In 2017 delivery services contributed to a 2 per cent revenue increase in the Australian restaurant industry with 75% of that market being made up of four large Australian delivery players UberEATS, Deliveroo, Menulog and Foodora. Having a third party delivery service can help to broaden your customer base as it opens your business up to a whole new audience from a new angle and with the busy lifestyles contributing to this consumer change is becoming more and more popular.
Using the service does implement a whole new host of issues for your business, and ensuring effective management over the delivery orders so that they don't impact on your in-house patrons can prove challenging. But with the rising number of venues that are embracing this change, and the choices rapidly growing for the service users it is clear that this trend will continue to grow within hospitality.
The food industry is ever evolving with new technologies and new customer demands. Whether you choose to embrace these trends for 2018 or have identified your own trends within your business it is important to implement them effectively to ensure their success.