2022 has been a rollercoaster year. I’m not sure anyone could have predicted everything that would happen or the trends that would emerge and evolve. However, here we are, approaching 2023 and we’re going to give it our best shot. So if you’re looking for any tips or suggestions for the new year, this blog is the one for you.
The British public aren’t exactly known for being bold. We can be fairly stuck in our ways, we love the classics and we love what we know. But that’s really changed in the last few years. With the rise of food markets and stalls, consumers have the opportunity to try dishes in small quantities without fully committing to an expensive meal out. Markets aside though, people are simply becoming more adventurous. Travel is more accessible and more affordable than it used to be and consumers want to venture out from their comfort zone of well known Italian classics and Indian favourites. Popular restaurants like Hoppers are bringing Sri Lankan food to the forefront and restaurants like Zima are showcasing lesser known cuisines like Russian and consumers are ready and waiting to try it!
Highstreets have been continuing to struggle and the pandemic has certainly not made things any easier. Retail has survived and continued to bring footfall by creating experiences for customers. Huge brands like Gymshark have recently moved onto the infamous Regent Street, creating a flagship store with its own gym and unique layout. Don’t worry, it’s a bit different for restaurants, by eating out you’re having an experience in itself, brought by the atmosphere of the venue. Where retail has fallen, hospitality has tended to replace empty spaces on the highstreet. But, that doesn’t mean that customers aren’t looking for a unique experience from operators. Tasting menus, music, culture. There are many ways to create an experience or atmosphere, think about what makes your restaurant unique and what makes customers come back.
Sometimes less is more right? Well when it comes to food this is often the case. Whether you’re eating out or ordering in, too much choice on a menu can be confusing or overwhelming for customers and in extreme cases even off putting. A streamlined menu looks slick and is easy to navigate and it’s a trend that we anticipate continuing. Maybe consider having a core menu with weekly or monthly specials so you can continue to mix things up and offer variety without overloading.
We can’t see things slowing down anytime soon. In 2023 people will continue to lead busy lifestyles and despite the continuance of work from home many are commuting more than last year and are back into office life. This means consumers want on the go, easy to grab options for their lunch and often breakfasts. Unfortunately it can be hard to find healthy options when it comes to these kinds of meals. But people want the convenience without the calories. Healthier sandwiches, wraps and flatbreads are on the rise. Businesses like Kalido are nailing this with their rice paper rolls which are an ideal lunch for a busy day but still have all the goodness in them.
This one really is nothing new. We continue to see the effects that we are having on our planet. From global warming to plastic pollution to overfishing. We all have a part to play in reducing our carbon footprint as individuals and as an industry. This is actually a great opportunity to get creative. Will you make a difference with the food that you serve and get involved with things like Veganuary? Or will you make changes to the way that you prep, source or package food? Tech can actually be great for this with products like table ordering reducing waste with menu printing and click & collect reducing mileage and petrol usage.
This is much less of a trend and more of an expectation. But we believe wellbeing is something that will be of increased importance this year. Hospitality businesses continue to struggle to both fill roles and maintain them. Employee turnover is high at the moment and a great way of reducing that is by building loyalty and making sure your staff are well looked after. Businesses will likely look to create a stable, safe and fun culture amongst employees. This really is a necessity but on top of the essentials, aspects like incentive schemes, bonuses and team building may also be prioritised to try and build teams and keep employees happy.
We’re not just looking at hotels for this one. Since the pandemic, flights have skyrocketed in price and going abroad likely isn’t a priority for many in the midst of a cost of living crisis. Two years of covid meant that holidays were staycations and one positive of it all was us falling back in love with the UK. Yes we’re not known for our weather but what we are, is a country of beautiful, scenic countryside and historical bustling cities! So we reckon this year, many will opt to scrap the flights and explore the UK. This means, more eating out, ordering in and discovering new and different foods, all of which are accessible without leaving the country.
And finally, we couldn’t write a blog on trends without including tech (sorry we had to). Yes we’re biassed, but we’re also right. Tech has grown and become a key part in pretty much any industry. We are able to do more and do better as a result of it. It might have been slow to work its way into hospitality but the pandemic accelerated that and it’s here to stay. We saw a growth in loyalty schemes this year with some big names like Pizza Express and Mcdonalds getting involved. We’ve also seen an increase in efficiency with speedy ordering options like “press pay” working hand in hand with click and collect, perfect for the busy consumer. Next year, we expect to see more operators opening themselves up to online ordering, whether that be delivery or table ordering. It creates another channel of revenue which is so important in a market like ours.
As we said, it’s hard to predict trends. These are just some of the things we think will be important to the industry this coming year and could be worth taking into consideration in your planning. Either way, let’s go into 2023 with excitement for a new year and new opportunities, we’ve got this!