Last Monday KAM MD, Katy Moses returned from the wonderful Atlantic Club study tour of Austin, Texas, organised to perfection by the guys at Peach 20/20. In our latest blog, she shares her key take-outs…
“Despite my American parentage, I had yet to visit Texas, so I was excited to see what we could learn from the F&B operators of the Lone Star State. Quite a lot, it seems- here are some of my highlights;
The quality of pretty much every meal I ate in Austin was fabulous. Often relying on little but the actual produce itself- no bells & whistles-just really good food cooked by obviously passionate and well-trained chefs. How important is this to customers? According to KAM research, good quality food is the top reason for choosing a venue to eat in for all age groups- even above value for money.
It’s on its way to being an important trend in the US. It involves people making incremental changes to their bodies, diet, & lifestyle to improve their health/well-being. In Austin, Biohacking bars are popping up everywhere, offering specialist therapies, IV drips that support your specific needs & much more. This kind of functional approach to health and wellness may be on its way over here-what would that mean for UK hospitality?
In the UK we simply don’t do hospitality brand merch well. In Austin, It’s everywhere. Every operator worth their salt has loads of options, from t-shirts to spice rubs. It might not be a great money-maker- it IS free marketing for the brand
Design. In Austin, the design of many bars/restaurants was surprisingly simple. Lighting seemed to be a real focus, but a reliance on natural, sturdy materials without too much frou-frou was the norm. We know that ‘atmosphere’ is generally in the top 3 for reasons people choose one venue over another- & design, of course, is integral to that.
It appears that it can do more than just sustain life. It may well be a small thing in the grand scheme of a venue, but having an attractive water station available for clientele to use really does make a difference. We saw one in most places we ate and drank- sometimes several big Kilner jars, one just with water, a couple with, say, citrus or cucumber in. Nice, freshly washed glasses and often a separate ice bucket. Never underestimate the appeal of the little touches.
Well, I couldn’t possibly share an experience of food and beverage in Austin without including what is practically the State dish. Smokers and BBQ options are everywhere- & nobody does it better than Franklin- a queue there for meaty delights starts at 5.30am, waiting for the place to open at 11am & they’re sold out by midday. Bonkers. Well, I thought it was until I tried it- I now totally get it. Local food prepared in a ‘local’ way is important to consumers- our existing insight shows that locally sourced menu items (47%) & sustainable menu items (34%) were called out as the top two food types pub/restaurant-goers want to see more of.
Get yourself to Austin for some of the best F&B in the world!
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