2020 hospitality consumer trends

As we know all too well, m​​​any industries have suffered during this pandemic, but the effect on the UK hospitality industry has been heart breaking to watch. KAM carried out research back in April and found that 66% of operators did not think they could survive if lockdown measures continued for a further three months. That’s two thirds of hospitality businesses at risk. So, what’s next for UK hospitality industry? What are the 2020 hospitality consumer trends as we come out of lockdown?

New eating out occasions

With home-working not fading out anytime soon, neighbourhood outlets have the opportunity to capture ‘home working’ trade during the day. Remote working space within a venue will be important for some- decent coffee and Wi-Fi, quiet zones and well-placed power points are essential here. Simple “food to go” style lunches become relevant as a low cost, quick everyday lunch alternative to eating at home, again. Operators need to ensure that they are catering for this customer- and at a price point that doesn’t make working in a pub/bar/restaurant prohibitive.

Big night in?

We know that there has been a huge uptake from consumers for delivery. KAM’s recent research report, Return of the Pub told us that 42% of UK consumers have ordered a delivery or takeaway from their local pub. Consumers have been forgiving of new delivery services during lockdown but operators now need to get professional – competition will be fierce and not all will survive. Expect the best operators to not only provide food to eat at home but offer the entire experience including drink pairings, tableware and playlists. DIY meal packs and ‘finish at home’ versions of signature dishes are already emerging as crowd-pleasing concepts. I had a fabulous experience of Hakkasan’s “at home experience”, gorgeous food, matched wine, branded playlist- shame i still had to wash up though! We’ll have a brand new white paper on this coming soon – let us know if you’d like to receive it (hello@kam-media.co.uk.)

Online is here to stay

“When all this is over”, an overused phrase if ever I heard one, we will not all just shut our laptops and drop straight back to our old habits. Some habits will stay- operators and brands who have created online presence- whether through activities (pub quiz, beer tasting, cocktail making etc) or selling product need to continue- online offerings need to be thought of like a brand extension- and invested in and nurtured to continue to provide revenue streams an/or brand loyalty and recognition.

2019 trends in a 2020 landscape

Remember sustainability? Once the industry moves out of survival mode, this will be very much back on the agenda. Plastic takeaway boxes may have been ok for panic buying in lockdown, they’re not going to be acceptable longer term. Operators need to be looking at ways to be quick, covid-safe and still save the planet.
The same goes for veganism, buying local, engaging with low and no alcohol- all of which have increased during lockdown- and all those other 2019 trends. These things have not gone away. 

Supporting those in need

We know that certain parts of the hospitality industry will need more support than others. City or town centre and travel venues are likely to have to wait a lot longer to see footfall grow. Younger customers are likely to get back to their pre-Corona visiting habits much quicker than over 55-year olds meaning those with an older customer base may suffer for longer. 

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Blake Gladman

Hi, I'm Blake, Strategy & Insight Director at KAM. I look after all our research products and manage the collection and delivery of insight throughout KAM. I love long runs and good food (the perfect life balance).