How much are your diners making food choices based on their values in 2020? Probably more than ever before – and for your hospitality business to prosper, it’s vital to get behind them.
We’re used to the younger generations being ‘woke’, of course, but customers of all ages are now doing all they can to save the environment.
And from choosing ethically-sourced ingredients to aiming for sustainability and even building relationships, successful restaurants are keeping their diners engaged by staying ahead of the trends.
We’ve spotted 5 of the key values driving customer choices in hospitality – and we’ve identified how your restaurant or bar can harness their power to keep business – and the planet – healthy.
1. Zero waste
Customers eager to have as small an impact on the planet as possible voted zero waste one of their top ten trends. They also rate low waste production highly when choosing where to eat.
Waste food is obviously a biggie for the environment (and scandalous when part of the world hasn’t enough to eat). It causes overfarming and pesticide use, and the waste ends up in landfill producing climate-warming methane.
But waste is also a major problem for restaurants trying to keep an eye on the bottom line.
The savviest establishments are now using the stock control facilities provided by restaurant EPOS technology to remove badly-selling recipes from the menu. It also allows ordering to be more closely matched to demand – a real winner all round.
2. Ethically-sourced ingredients
With around 600,000 vegans in the UK, we’re talking about plant-based ingredients – but we also mean responsibly-sourced local meats, in-season veg and well-sourced fish. These are all highly important to the woke diner.
Chefs designing dishes now have more control at ingredient level than ever before, thanks to technology such as the Kitchen CUT system partnered with Aloha restaurant EPOS by NFS.
In addition to costing each ingredient precisely, it warns of allergen risks – a factor that ethical chefs take extremely seriously.
In the Future Shock 6 report, UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls says: “Sustainability is arguably the key issue of our time. It will become more important and hospitality needs to lead efforts to promote sustainability yet further.”
Kate defines sustainability as the ability to maintain growth at a certain level without depleting natural resources. It’s a business goal that resonates perfectly with the demands of the value-driven consumer.
It covers sustainability of all kinds; reduced use of resources such as electricity, gas and water, sustainable food choices, and eco-friendly packaging on deliveries.
And it involves the whole supply chain, with restaurants using their EPOS reports to monitor usage, discover economies and monitor their suppliers.
4. Being available 24/7
Well, it’s come in for criticism recently because we’re all enslaved by our mobiles…
But when it comes to keeping customers happy, it’s now expected that your restaurant is available to them easily at all hours – even when you are shut.
We’ve already seen the arrival of online reservations via Open Table, linked to your restaurant EPOS system. These take bookings 24/7 without hands on by your staff.
The socially engaged consumer turns to Trip Advisor before making a booking, looking for reviews, and this is another area where EPOS can help. With the Pulse mobile management app, a restaurateur is warned about any negative posts so issues can be put right.
Customers are also making great use of voice ordering via Alexa, which links the customer directly with your restaurant, places the order, organises delivery and automatically takes the payment.
New revenue streams and no bother; for restaurants, 24/7 availability can be a dream come true…
What makes us return again and again to our favourite restaurant?
Good food, naturally, and maybe its location: but one of the biggest draws is always a great relationship – you may remember the Cheers slogan: “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name…”
In these suspicious days, when trust is hard won and precious, that quality is even more in demand.
Can a restaurant genuinely know ALL its customers? Technology says yes, thanks to the data captured by the restaurant EPOS system from browsing to bill payment.
Analysts Deloitte said recently that in 2020 the most successful restaurant brands:
“will be those that best understand their customers, capitalise on digital technology options and analytics and seize upon the opportunity to engage customers in a highly personalised way.”
Deloitte surveyed 4,500 diners, and found that while loyalty programmes are an important part of building customer relationships, almost 90% of people belong to fewer than three of them.
Restaurant EPOS allows a very deep analysis of customer preferences that allows you to create highly personalised offers. If payment info is included, you will even know where else your customers line to eat.
So your smile at reception and your lovely serving staff – while always important – are the icing on the cake; your trusted relationship with your diners stretches way beyond your restaurant walls.
Is it going to be a good year for restaurants?
2019 was tough one for hospitality. It saw the closure of many restaurants and groups including Jamie’s Italian, and industry-wide around 11,000 jobs were lost.
But according to Big Hospitality, companies shutting down with Company Voluntary Arrangements fell by 46% on 2018. In addition, smaller operators with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will see their business rates bill fall from 1 April this year.
It’s going to be a welcome boost. And for those restaurants who are responding to customers’ changing values with the help of technology, 2020 could be the most woke year yet in UK in hospitality. Hopefully the most successful, into the bargain.
Discover how to give better customer service with restaurant EPOS: