As Hospitality establishments open their doors, 72% of consumers say they are ‘excited’ to be able to enjoy the experience and atmosphere of eating out again. The pent-up demand for new experience is indisputable.
People have been trapped at home, eating the same meals with the same people and many are desperate to see new people and have new consumption experiences.
Launching its inaugural TWC Trends Spring 2021 Report, published today (15.4.21) available for purchase (https://twcgroup.net/register-twc-trends-1/), leading intelligence and technology consultancy, TWC, has highlighted that there are five key themes for operators and restaurateurs to consider across Foodservice and Hospitality in the months ahead in order to adapt and thrive:
1. Online Explosion – The Digitalisation and Delivery of Food and Drink and the impact on Foodservice (and Convenience)
2. Experiential Hospitality & ‘Retailtainment’- Re-thinking the role of bricks and mortar as customers seek personalised, engaging experiences out of home.
3. Do Good Feel Good – Working for a Better World. Social Impact and wellbeing influences consumer choices whether eating in – or eating out!
4. Data & Personalisation – Data is the new oil – one size does not fit all. Are Hospitality establishments using data to really keep ahead of their customers.
5. Save v Splurge – Balancing value as well as premiumisation to meet divergent customer needs.
According to TWC’s Tom Fender, the TWC Trends Spring 2021 study has shown that whilst safety and social awkwardness may play a part in some people’s journey out of lockdown – with 39% of people saying they will return to eating out once they have had their second vaccination – everyone will ultimately want to eat something different, experience something new and enjoy the stimulation of a new environment.
And what TWC calls ‘retailtainment’ in other words ’Experiential Hospitality’ is going to become more and more important as the lines blur between Retail and Hospitality and the sectors consider the implications of the overheads of bricks and mortar and look to cover their costs through offering new services.
He says: “Whether like many of our European counterparts you buy products in a restaurant – or eat out in a convenience store, these lines are blurring and it is all about new experiences which in turn lead to new opportunities for those operators who are prepared to adapt to thrive.
“Furthermore, our data shows that consumers are likely to expect amped up experiences from they can create at home. If they can make a Cappuccino at home, the one they buy out of home will need to be better. If their home cooking is OK, they will want ‘awesome’ when dining out.
Fender also believes that with a significant number of hospitality businesses sadly unlikely to re-open and consumers unable to go out since 2020, everything is up for grabs.
“For those that have made it through and are on the brink of re-opening, summer 2021 is the time to build new customer relationships, focus on the offer and understand how it is resonating. People are likely to be more forgiving initially but perhaps this is the time to take a fresh look at customer experience – what worked before for the old crowd might need tweaking.
“Simple, easy to execute food/beverage solutions that will heighten customer experience are essential right now. Hospitality owner/managers are stressed and stretched – innovative but cost-effective solutions are key”.
The TWC Trends Spring Report 2021 shows that one of the biggest areas of evolution throughout Covid is that of “dark kitchens”. As consumers have turned to ‘take-aways’ over the past year in increasing droves, restaurant kitchens have expanded, taking a share of consumer spend and gaining greater margin due to lower operating costs.
Fender concludes: “This report deliberately focusses on the long-term impacts on consumer behaviour. We believe that the immediate after-shocks of Covid-19 have been copiously covered and the Hospitality Industry has a firm grasp of the likely sales patterns for 2021.
“Meanwhile, there is a paucity of analysis of the seismic shifts that are taking place beneath the surface that will fundamentally and irrevocably change our sector.”
To purchase the full TWC Trends report or if you would like TWC to present its findings at your business board/team meetings, please email Sandy MacEwen firstname.lastname@example.org A further report will be published in October 2021 as part of TWC Trends twice yearly tracker study.