How much are diners allowing personal values to drive their food choices in 2020? Probably more than at any previous time – and for your hospitality business to thrive, it’s important to get behind them.
We’re familiar with the younger generations being ‘woke’, but customers of all ages are now doing their best to save the environment.
And from ethically-sourced ingredients to sustainability and even relationship-building, successful restaurants are staying ahead of the trends to keep their diners fully engaged.
We’ve identified 5 of the key values driving customer choices in hospitality – and how your bar, hotel or restaurant can harness their power to keep business – as well as the planet – healthy.
1. Zero waste
In an international survey recently, chefs voted for this as one of the top ten trends.
Customers keen to have as light an impact on the planet as possible also rate it highly when choosing where to eat.
Waste food is obviously a big issue for the environment (and a scandal when part of the world goes hungry) – it causes overproduction and pesticide use, and ends up in landfill producing climate unfriendly methane.
But it’s also a serious problem for restaurants trying to keep an eye on the bottom line.
The most savvy establishments are now using the stock control facilities provided by restaurant EPOS technology to identify poorly-selling recipes and removing them from the menu. It means ordering is more closely matched to demand – a real win-win.
2. Ethically-sourced ingredients
With an estimated 600,000 vegans in the UK now, we’re talking plant-based ingredients, of course – but we also mean well-sourced local meats, in-season veg and responsibly-sourced fish. All highly important to the woke diner.
Chefs designing dishes now have greater control than ever before at ingredient level thanks to clever technology such as the Kitchen CUT system partnered with Aloha restaurant EPOS by NFS.
As well as closely costing each ingredient, it warns of potential allergens – a factor that the ethically-aware chef must take into consideration in the light of recent tragic deaths.
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.”
She defines sustainability as the ability to maintain growth at a certain level without depleting natural resources; a business goal that chimes perfectly with the requirements of the value-driven consumer.
It means sustainability of all kinds; lower use of resources such as electricity, water and gas, sustainable food choices, eco-friendly packaging on deliveries.
And it works right along the supply chain, with restaurants using their EPOS reporting suites to monitor usage, uncover economies and monitor suppliers.
4. Being available 24/7
OK, it’s come in for some stick recently as we are all enslaved by our mobile phones…
But when it comes to catering for customers, it’s now a given that your restaurant needs to be available to them easily at all hours of the day – even when you are shut.
We’ve already seen the arrival of online reservations via Open Table, linked to your restaurant EPOS system, taking bookings at all hours without staff hands-on.
Our socially engaged consumer turns to Trip Advisor before making a booking, looking for the opinions of their peers, and this is another area where EPOS can help. For example, with the Pulse mobile management app a restaurateur is alerted about any negative posts so they can be nipped in the bud.
Customers are also enjoying voice ordering via Alexa that puts the customer directly in touch with your restaurant, places the order, organises delivery and takes the payment automatically.
New revenue streams and no bother; sometimes 24/7 availability is a dream come true…
What takes us back again and again to a favourite restaurant?
Good food, of course, and possibly location: but one of the biggest draws is a great relationship – if you’re of a certain vintage, you’ll remember Cheers: “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name…”
That quality is even more in demand these suspicious days, when trust is hard won and precious.
Can a restaurant really know ALL its customers? Technology says yes, with data captured by the restaurant EPOS system from browsing to bill payment.
Analysts Deloitte said recently that 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.”
To arrive at this opinion, Deloitte surveyed 4,500 diners, and found that while loyalty programmes were an important part of customer relationship-building, almost 90% of people belong to fewer than three of them.
Analysis of customer preferences allowed by restaurant EPOS goes deep – if payment info is included, you’ll even know where else your customers go to eat.
So the smile at reception and the pleasant service – while always important – are the icing on the cake; your trusted relationship with your diners stretches far beyond your restaurant walls.
Good news for restaurants in 2020
2019 was a tough one that saw the closure of many restaurants including Jamie’s Italian, and the estimated loss industry-wide of 11,000 jobs.
Yet according to Big Hospitality, those shutting down with Company Voluntary Arrangements fell by 46% on 2018 – and smaller operators with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will see their business rates bill fall from 1 April.
It’s a welcome boost. And for those harnessing the power of technology to respond to the changing values of customers, 2020 could be the most woke year yet in UK in hospitality – and hopefully the most lucrative.
Discover more about the power of restaurant EPOS: