TRENDS WINTER 2018

What are the hospitality trends for this winter?  It’s no secret that consumers are increasingly looking for unique experiences which are healthy and convenient.  The biggest growth area continues to be clever technologies designed to improve the hospitality consumer’s experience.  Here are H&L’s top trends for winter 2018:

HEALTHY FOODS

Warming winter cuisine is still a good bet.  There’s still a market for perennial winter faves like lamb shanks on mash and pork belly with slaw, not to mention the not-so-humble roast meal at the local hotel.  When planning your winter menu don’t overlook the growing market segment looking for healthy options.  Options for those “free” people – gluten, dairy and meat – are going to broaden your customer base.  Plant-based proteins and gut-friendly foods are cresting the health wave in 2018. Don’t forget to make healthy options comforting for winter, an ice-cold Buddha bowl popular in warmer months is only going to appeal to the most hard-core health devotee on a chilly winter’s day. Avoid wastage by making sure healthy winter options are versatile enough to complement your restaurant’s culinary offer.

FOOD AT HOME

On a cold and rainy winter’s night your customers will think twice about heading out when they can have a delicious meal ordered right to their door.  Singles, couples, families and businesses are increasingly looking for scrumptious meals at the touch of their smart screens.  Food delivery represents a significant growth opportunity for your restaurant and is a way to grow your customer base while upping your profile in the local community. 

Offering delivery to your customers is not without its own challenges and your business needs to be wily about how it enters this growth market.  Do your research to pick the right food delivery platform, be it Menulog or Ubereats – or both.  Find out what the costs are then plan how your kitchen and your staff will juggle food for delivery with food for customers dining in.  How will you manage delivery people bustling in and out without interrupting the wonderful experiences for your customers in the restaurant?  Do you need new staff or new infrastructure?

Customer service mutates to something new for home delivery.  To create customer loyalty and retention you and your staff will need to prioritise food quality and order accuracy to deliver an amazing meal.  Forgetting the dipping sauce takes on a whole new meaning when the customer is two suburbs over. 

TECHNOLOGY

We know that you are woke to the way technology is infiltrating every aspect of the hospitality business.  Technology is permeating the whole hospitality experience, from online bookings, app-based ordering at home or at the table, cashless payments to the POS system, kitchen printing, digital workforce management and loyalty programs.

Having nightmares about the pitter patter of giant metallic feet as the robot army marches to take over the world?  Worried that your role will be usurped by an AI overmind anticipating your customer’s every hospitality desire?   Don’t worry.  Technology is a good thing for your business.  Futures market experts predict that over the next decade technology and humans will increasingly work side by side to deliver optimum outcomes.  Investing in the right technologies (both hardware and software) to support your hospitality business is the key to managing your overheads and staffing while you create beautiful and memorable customer experiences this winter.

OTHER TRENDS EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT

Ethical consumerism has its part to play in hospitality businesses.  Consumers want to see that your venue is being socially responsible – it could be supporting an important cause, supporting a group in the local community or bio-friendly packaging.  Show your customers your business cares about the world and that they, by patronising your venue, are caring about the world too.

Ironic food combinations continue to be a thing for those adventurous millennials.  Whether it’s peanut butter on a burger or waffles with bacon and banana there is a market for audacious diners seeking a novel experience.  Seemingly incompatible food combinations will likely remain the purview of pop-ups this winter as their lower overheads allow them to cater to niche market segments. But that doesn’t mean your restaurant couldn’t include funky seasonal options on the specials board does it?

Beautiful drinks, foods and unique surroundings play a big part this winter.  When presented with a feast for the eyes (as well as the tastebuds) your customer will have the urgent need to capture the experience with a quick snap and a post to social media.  Presentation matters.

Ask H&L today how our solutions will keep your hospitality business relevant and positioned for success in 2018.