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Top 7 predictions for the on-trade hospitality industry post-lockdown
There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has significantly impacted the hospitality industry.
But what can we expect, specifically, from the future of on-trade hospitality, as we finally begin to emerge from the pandemic?
In this article, we’ll be delving into our top seven predictions, what they might mean, and how you can best prepare for them.
1. The impact of the economic bounceback
Although many of our bank accounts have taken a hit in the past year or so, not all of us have been hit quite the same.
In fact, it is estimated that as much as 85% of UK adults have spent less during lockdown, which has resulted in average savings of around £617 a month for those still receiving their full income. 31% of people with a savings account have also increased their savings since the start of lockdown. Astonishing.
As a result, a large chunk of the UK has saved a record-high, 29.1% of their disposable income, which means that social consumption will soon be on the rise, as lockdown-savers look to spend their cash on social get-togethers after months of being stuck at home.
Over 70% of respondents in one survey also revealed that they planned to book a holiday in the UK in 2021 — and not travel abroad. This is more good news for hospitality businesses, as British holidaymakers could provide a much-needed lifeline in the months ahead.
2. The increase of local customers
COVID-19 has undoubtedly renewed interest in the local economy. One YouGov poll found that 64% of shoppers want to actively support local businesses, as a direct result of the pandemic.
As we head out of lockdown and into a post-COVID economy, we predict that this will translate into more local customers across the hospitality sector.
To make the most of that opportunity, you’ll need to actively tap into all that goodwill and directly encourage it. One way to do that is to launch a customer loyalty scheme that incentivises frequent visits, higher-order values, and rewards customers along the way. Look for local social media groups, hashtags and accounts and get involved!
3. The rise of remote workers
With 74% of firms planning to offer remote working options after coronavirus, it looks like working from home is here to stay.
For hospitality businesses, this could create an exciting opportunity to cater to the needs of remote workers who, we predict, will be on the hunt for an alternative workspace.
To do that, restaurants, pubs and bars should actively position themselves as a go-to for their ‘local’ remote workers by offering free, fast-speed WiFi, setting up a remote workspace, and offering a unique and attractive alternative to working from home. Think lunchtime specials and brunch options for remote workers looking to meet up with colleagues.
This could be a great way to boost daytime trade in an era when bookings might take a while to get off the ground again.
4. The permanent shift to contactless payment
A recent study by Dynata revealed that almost 60% of the UK would prefer to use contactless payment, post-Covid.
Moving forwards, this means that the hospitality sector will need to reflect this change and cater to new demands.
The most popular (and rewarding) way to do that, we predict, will be to invest in a mobile ordering and payment system that is not only contactless, but also automates the entire ordering and payment process.
Learn more about how a contactless, mobile ordering and payment system could help your business stay fit for the future.
5. An expanded “personal space”?
After over a year of social distancing, it’s going to take some time before customers feel comfortable in tight, crowded spaces again.
That’s why, as we move into the future, we predict an ongoing trend where hospitality businesses try to prevent overcrowding and optimise space the best they can.
To do that, it’s worth reassessing your floor-plan and working out how you can give customers the space they need — without operating at a reduced capacity.
It’s also worth investing in a mobile ordering and payment system that lets customers order directly from their tables. This way, you’ll be saving them from having to queue at the bar to order drinks, and preventing too much staff-to-customer interaction.
Ultimately, you should adapt your social distancing protocols and try to make them work on a long-term basis. We predict that customers will expect COVID-security for a long time to come, even if it isn’t as needed as it was during the peak of the pandemic.
6. The importance of offering an in-house takeaway service
In 2020, the takeaway sector was the fastest growing industry in the UK.
Now, as customers have grown used to ordering takeaway food from their favourite restaurant, offering delivery and collection options has never been more important.
But, in terms of what form this takes in the future, we predict that local venues will want more control over their takeaway services to optimise their approach, and protect their margins.
This, we think, will mean turning away from heavy-hitters like Deliveroo and generating unique, specifically targeted traffic that builds a loyal base of direct customers that aren’t channeled through a third-party.
Get ahead of the curve with this, and your business could be first in line to capitalise on the takeaway boom on your terms.
7. The increased and continued focus on cleanliness
Cleanliness has always been important in the hospitality sector — but a recent study found that over 60% of customers care more about it than ever before.
Moving forwards, then, this means that cleanliness and hygiene will be an extremely important part of both attracting and impressing customers.
This will require the continuation of strict hygiene measures, such as providing hand sanitiser stations and regular cleansing of tables, fixtures, equipment and so forth. The more visible to the customer the better.
We predict that hospitality venues that don’t make these measures a priority will be left behind. So, don’t be too hasty when it comes to dropping some of the changes you put in place for COVID-19 — it could cost you customers!
Ready to rise to the challenge?
Of course you are.
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- Meet the demands of the modern consumer
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