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The 4 week review

Is the foodservice world bouncing back?

It’s been 4 weeks since hospitality establishments were able to open their doors. So what key changes have we seen in the out of home market and what emerging trends are starting to stick?

How about footfall?

The Caterer reports today (Friday 31st July) that in the weeks since 4th July, like-for-like sales deficit has steadily improved. From a first week opening level of 40% below normal levels to 29% in the week beginning 20 July. This is a positive sign – especially as the Great British weather has been typically rainy and gloomy for most of the country.

Operators are still behaving cautiously but there are signs of steady improvement with more eating out establishments opening their doors. 68% of group-owned sites are now open (compared to 60% the previous week). Restaurant chains, at present have only opened around 29% of sites, whilst pub groups have opened 83% of their estate.

Let’s go techno …

To help with social distancing, there’s more reliance now on apps and contactless payment. Operators are being encouraged to sign up and there’s lots of companies out there that are promoting their services. Whether it’s a QR based system like Chooice or QR Code Generator. Some foodservice wholesalers have also launched systems to help their customers. MKG Foods for example launched a new Pub Order app that was ready before establishments started to reopen.

There’s now a need for more admin and booking systems due to the track and trace requirement.

Table Service …

Deliveroo’s initiative to offer table service in restaurants (with no commission) is a great idea … but has come under criticism citing rural establishments unable to benefit.

Time to calorie count …

With reported links between obesity and the increased risks this causes for those who contract coronavirus, it’s very evident the government has plans! Not exactly new news that our nation’s waistlines are getting wider, but it has been reported that the government is working on new legislation. It is suggested that large restaurants, cafés and takeaways with more than 250 employees will need to provide calorie counts on menus and food-to-go labelling.

Growing in the dark …

More and more operators have switched to dark kitchens to provide a safe, dedicated delivery option. Takeaway and delivery is still performing well since the option to eat-in became available and some operators are still moving towards this alternative. Just this week, Dishoom were the latest brand to announce they have launched 4 delivery-only kitchens. Small chains, new brands and even iconic casual-dining brand Wimpy have all launched dark kitchens during lockdown and beyond.

Getting creative to respond to the ‘new normal …

Many operators have been super-creative to adapt to the new world and respond to reduced in-store opportunities. Pret a Manger have launched a lovely picnic box, perfect for park picnics or beach days. It’s a great example of how operators are diversifying to meet new consumer social occasions.

A change to service charge?

To futureproof hospitality workers benefits, Oklava in London will no longer provide the option to add the additional 12.5% service charge onto bills. Instead, this will be incorporated into menu prices. Hospitality workers were only paid 80% of their base rate whilst on furlough which excluded tips which many were dependent on.

Eat Out to Help Out

It’s early days, but there is positivity that this scheme will encourage more people to eat out at local pubs and restaurants. According to a poll by hospitality research firm KAM Media, 35m adults are expected to ‘Eat Out to Help Out’. Independently owned, chains to top-end restaurants are joining this scheme daily. Link here if you need it. 

And the winner is …

I have to admit, with my freelance marketing manager’s hat on, my favourite ‘returning’ advert has to be McDonalds’ “Return of the Mac”. Pure genius … and reminds me heady nights out in the nineties!!

 

Splat PR offer freelance marketing and PR support for food, drink and hospitality businesses. We love working with all types of business big or small. What we just want to do is help you make a difference. Read our case studies here. 

Please do get in touch if you need help in these challenging times.