Fun, friendship and sharing a meal – three of the things people missed most in 2020. So some commentators are predicting a joyous ‘Roaring Twenties’ revival of the hospitality trade by the Summer.
Of course, other industry watchers feel the recovery will take a lot longer. And sadly, many businesses will not make it; our hearts go out to them.
But for those who make it through, there will be opportunities to grasp – there’s going to be a lot of pent-up demand from eager diners to satisfy.
Some of the restaurants best-placed to take advantage in 2021 are operators who have shown remarkable ingenuity and enterprise in pivoting their business model during the hard times.
And as UK consumers ease back to a more normal social life, the ever-inventive and hardworking hospitality industry will not forget what they have learned.
So here are 5 top trends for #restaurant2021 – and some examples of ideas that worked from our own Aloha restaurant epos clients.
1. My restaurant, my friend
As pubs and restaurants stepped in with free meals for NHS workers throughout the year, it dawned on everyone that hospitality is not just an industry – it’s a crucial part of the community.
With customers staying at home, many restaurants beefed up their outreach marketing with friendly social media – a great way to grow and engage with a community of fans.
In #restaurant2021, savvy operators will continue to build on their use of channels such as Instagram and Facebook to promote their new recipes, chefs, menus and offers.
2. The luxury of eating out
Consumers have become accustomed to eating at home in 2020, and many say they appreciate the convenience. So luring them back to the restaurant will take some work.
Reminding customers of the luxury of being served great food in a great location will help – and Forbes sees celebrity chef appearances as a real trend in #restaurant2020.
In other words, restaurants will be looking to add an element of theatre to their offering – something you just can’t get at home.
Think live music, combination fashion and food events, live cooking demonstrations by head chefs, in-restaurant wine and food masterclasses, movie-themed dinners, local produce showcases…anything that adds a unique extra value to visiting your establishment.
3. Flexible offerings
Everyone’s learned a lot about being flexible in the past year…Top operators including NFS clients BrewDog and Dishoom have made the most of takeaway and delivery, while others have developed special delivery kitchens and even cook-it-at-home kits.
Many restaurants worked hard to set up these extra revenue streams and invested in the technology to support them, so it’s likely they will keep going with them, and continue to enjoy the benefits alongside their in-restaurant operations.
4. Contactless ordering and payment
It’s could take diners a while to get over social distancing habits and build up their confidence to normal levels.
So hospitality businesses will still benefit from technological innovations such as contactless ordering and payment at tableside. Not only are they convenient for customers, but they also improve the customer experience, speeding up service and food delivery.
They increase table turn, too, because no-one is hanging around waiting to pay.
5. Data-driven decision making
While it’s not possible to have a crystal ball for something as unexpected as a pandemic, businesses can be prepared for many eventualities. And those who have the firmest grasp on the metrics of their business have the best chance of planning effectively.
Capturing and analysing good data on everything from popular dishes to sales, stock levels and busiest times can support good decisions that can transform operations and save costs.
Seems like many restaurants and bars have plenty to look forward to in 2021, although tough months still lie ahead.
At NFS, we’ve brought you ideas and best practice from across the industry throughout the crisis – and we’ll continue to hold out a supporting hand as prospects start to brighten.
Get in touch for advice and help – and watch this space for more tips!