Over a third of UK consumers say they’ll visit a smaller group of pubs and restaurants as the industry tentatively reopened at the weekend
Operators need to keep innovating to get on consumers’ shrinking dine-out hotlists
Research from Meatless Farm, the UK’s fastest growing meat-free brand, has found that over a third of UK consumers say they will now be reducing the number of restaurants in their repertoire.
Foodservice operators opened their doors to the British public this weekend – an important moment for the industry. However, the research identifies a need for operators to ensure their offering is not only delivering value but also attracting customer footfall and driving loyalty.
This change in consumer habits is being led by 35-44 year olds, with 46% saying they’re more conscious about where they will now eat out and how many outlets they will visit. The research also indicates a regional impact with London and Yorkshire and the Humber being the lowest for consumer confidence when it comes to eating out again; almost half of consumers in each region agree they’ll be visiting fewer restaurants now.
Consumers need to be encouraged to try new places and one of the most effective ways to do this is for an outlet to review its menu offering, ensuring it appeals to a post-lockdown customer and boosting confidence with clear adherence of re-opening procedures.
The pandemic has accelerated various consumer behaviours driven by a re-focusing on sustainability and health. One of these being the demand for plant-based food which shows no sign of slowing down; research from Meatless Farm also indicates that 37% of consumers believe there should be a strong plant-based menu offering when a restaurants re-opens.
Jade Dodds, Foodservice and QSR Director at Meatless Farm, the UK’s supplier of plant-based alternatives to pubs and restaurants, says: “Operators have a lot on their plates with ensuring safety is top of the agenda. Now’s the time for consumers to show their support but for operators it’s also the time to keep innovating, there are challenging months ahead but as always offer and experience will help get the sector back in the driving seat.’’
Meatless Farm recently launched a foodservice campaign ‘We Will Meatless Again’, which includes a new digital hub for chefs and operators, offering valuable advice and commentary from chefs, experts and EHOs throughout the reopening phase.
For further information and advice, chefs can access the new portal on the Meatless Farm website –www.meatlessfarm.com/food-service