Hungry for

As the new year begins, here’s food for thought to help create a successful 2022.

Food that delivers

It wasn’t so long ago that pizza and Chinese cuisine dominated the world of food deliveries.

But, when restaurants and pubs in the UK introduced delivery services to survive the pandemic, everything changed. Faced with the prospect of not being able to eat out, approximately 4.3 million UK adults ordered a food delivery for the first time in 2020.

Consumers embraced the opportunity to enjoy restaurant-quality food delivered straight to their homes: from carefully boxed roast dinners to juicy stacked burgers and elaborate tasting menus created by Michelin-starred chefs and their local gastro pub.

The delivery market grew by £3.7bn to reach £11.4bn and will be worth £12.6bn in 2024, according to Lumina Intelligence. So, there’s a huge opportunity to come that you can take advantage of.

Yes, people are eating out again and, as a result, the rise in deliveries has reached a plateau. However, takeouts and deliveries still accounted for 35% of total sales for managed pubs and restaurants in June 2021.

As we begin a new year, food deliveries should remain a powerful part of your business strategy. With safety concerns around Covid still lingering, people still want to enjoy chef-cooked food with a strong sense of occasion in their home.

Be aware...

Popular digital delivery platforms such as Just Eat, UberEats and Deliveroo may have a huge reach and a reliable reputation, but they will charge between 14% and 30% commission per order and perhaps a fixed admin charge. Cut out the middleman and attract orders directly. Maybe offer a discount if customers order from you or give a starter or dessert course free of charge.

Selling to Gen Z

Generation Z (18 to 24-year-olds) order delivery food three to four times per week on average – more than any other generation in history, according to the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association. Use your social media channels with lots of hastags to get their attention and help them to find you.

Selling to millennials

For millennials (aged 25-40), offer limited-edition menus and themed at-home dining experiences. Creating a link between digital and physical taps into the ‘home eatertainment’ trend, which focuses on the experience and enjoyment of eating at home.

“18-24 year olds order food 3 to 4 times per week”
- International Foodservice Manufacturers Association: 2017

Fast food fashion

Restaurant promotional merchandise used to mean a Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt or a baseball cap from Planet Hollywood. Now, however, many bakeries, breweries, cafes and restaurants are offering hip, design-savvy merchandise and products.

If there’s one thing the past 21 months has taught us, it’s that restaurants can no longer rely on a single revenue stream. The reality is UK restaurants recorded almost 30,000 job losses in 2020 and seven in 10 restaurants fear they will have to close as a result of the pandemic.

Establishments around the country, including the Taiwanese cult restaurant Bao (right), Crazy Pedros, a pizza parlour and tequila bar in Manchester and Liverpool, and Goat Ledge, a community cafe in St Leonards-on-Sea, have seen a rise in merchandise sales.

How to be successful with merchandise

This is a great way to grow brand awareness and for customers to support their favourite outlets. Choose your products carefully and brand with your logo, a fun design or simple and impactful slogans that your customers know you for:

T-shirts

Tote bags

Reusable mugs

Why not run a social media competition for customers to share photos of people wearing and using your merchandise? Give discounts to everyone who hashtags and shares the photos, which is great online promotion for you too.

Creature comforts

The nostalgia food trend of late has seen a boom in popularity in the UK for childhood classics as consumers are drawn to feel-good comfort foods in times of crisis.

Covid may have contributed to the sales of jelly (three times higher in Co-op than pre-lockdown) and sales of tinned meat such as Spam and corned beef have risen by £9.8m to reach £83.3m in the past year, according to data from Kantar.

The demand for nostalgic foods will only grow in 2022 says Mintel, which describes it as an “elastic trend” – meaning it’s easy to adapt on menus for all generations.

Consider putting classics such as Spam fritters and trifle on your menu for a limited time and measure the result!

Fast forward...

Comfort foods are changing, too. Tastewise reports that consumers are seeking health benefits such as comfort (+74%) and stress relief (+14%) from food they eat. This isn’t your traditional comfort food, though.

The study shows that people are seeking ‘functional’ healthier versions. For example, dishes with ingredients that boost immunity. It might be a shepherd’s pie stuffed with vegetables or homemade chicken noodle soup.

There are plenty of wholesome and familiar dishes that fulfil an ongoing need for comfort in a tumultuous world, such as hearty tomato soups and veggie-loaded stews. Watch out too for a predicted ‘carbs comeback’.

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