TWC believes ‘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.

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.

As hospitality establishments opened their doors, 72% of consumers say they are ‘excited’ to be able to enjoy the ‘experience and atmosphere’ of eating out again. Intelligence and technology consultancy TWC has highlighted five key themes for operators and restaurateurs to consider for the upcoming months:

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.

Fender commented: “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.

“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.”

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