The restaurant and hotel dining industry certainly has a lot on its plate in 2017 – and while that may be a pun, it’s no joke.
Hospitality businesses are now really starting to face up to all the uncertainties of Brexit, including potentially higher wage costs and a scarcity of staff. Then there’s the increasing skittishness of customers, who have their own financial concerns, and who are also making some radical changes in the way they dine.
Next month, we’re delighted to be taking part in the Casual Dining Show at the BDC in London on 22-23 February – and we’re already anticipating three major issues where visitors will ask for our support.
These hot trends for 2017 are:
1) Uber-isation: this is the result of the ‘sharing economy’, named after the grab-a-cab movement, but now it’s coming to dining.
Small restaurants and even some chains are developing hubs where meals are professionally cooked for delivery to people’s homes – even home cooks are getting in on this. OK, it’s essentially a takeaway, but it’s a new way of looking at it and a definite threat to traditional restaurants.
2) Spiralling costs: wholesale food prices may be going down, but labour and real estate certainly are not (property prices for restaurant sites have risen by 14%).
So as this study in eHotelier points out, many restaurants are needing to put up their prices while the cost of eating at home is going down…
3) The need for speed: one of the biggest trends in 2016 – for hospitality businesses of all kinds – was the increasing demand for quick service, and that’s going to escalate.
Demand for fast casual restaurants has risen dramatically, and the spending power of the digital-savvy Millennial generation in particular has driven up a need for speed and accuracy in restaurant ordering.
This trio of trends may seem to be worrying for many restaurants, but I believe that they offer plenty of opportunities if grasped properly.
It all comes down to the customer experience. This has always a major force in hospitality, of course, but staying on top of what customers desire and require is now more important than ever.
Luckily – as we’ll be happy to demonstrate to our visitors at the Casual Dining Show – advanced restaurant and EPoS technology is providing the tools businesses need to get a competitive edge in challenging 2017.
For instance, 50% of people asked in a recent survey said technology had a ‘big’ or ‘somewhat big’ impact on their experience at fast casual dining outlets.
And with online ordering doubling between 2010 and 2015, diners are obviously enjoying the ‘discoverability’ of online restaurants and the accuracy and of ordering from their mobile device.
All of this means we’re anticipating a busy stand (M438) at the Show, and a keen demand for information on how to stay ahead in 2017.