Global information company The NPD Group has identified five key foodservice industry trends to monitor in 2016.
1. Experimentation and Customisation – less loyalty, more variety.
Consumers want new flavours, fusion foods, and premium options.
Winners create customisable food, and small sharing dishes to facilitate experimentation and fun. They evolve the menu regularly to drive frequency and encourage ‘word of mouth’ visits.
2. Super-Convenience – ‘convenience’ is no longer enough.
Consumers don’t want to waste time; they don’t want to queue; they want an easy life.
Winners invest in technology; apps and websites must be improved; click and collect pervades.
3. Everything for Everyone – operators widen the net.
Consumers are busy, their days are not rigid, and they want everything available all the time.
Winners extend opening hours, and offer more menu variety; alcohol in fast food, breakfast in Pubs.
4. Adaptable to Everywhere – be wherever the consumer is.
Consumers need access to operators. They travel more than ever, but also work from home.
Winners open smaller premises or new ‘micro-sites’ – outside of large locations with high footfall – offering a narrow menu to suit the different premises.
5. ‘Human’ Customer Relationships – innovation and creativity to engage.
Consumers need new reasons to engage with brands in a recovering market awash with choice.
Winners utilise ads and social media to provide a ‘human’ interaction with consumers, moving from a transactional (bland, product-based) to a friendly (warm and conversational) relationship.
Cyril Lavenant, NPD’s director of Foodservice for the UK and France, said: “Consumers are much more demanding than they were a few years ago. They expect higher quality of food and beverages, they enjoy diversity and want to live an experience when eating out; as a result, consumers are harder to satisfy and less loyal. Operators who will win in this difficult market will embrace consumers’ expectations; they will constantly think about raising their game to surprise their guests.”