The world has been turned upside down over the past few years, and some exciting trends can now be identified from that. Our creativity has been called upon and many hospitality entrepreneurs have become more active on social media, updated their menus and websites, and started delivering meals to their homes. We have found this to be a challenging time and we still need to be creative. Many entrepreneurs are facing a chronic staff shortage in 2022, according to the UWV, and rising commodity prices are asking us to choose other products for the menu (ABN Amro, 2021, 2022). Due to the lockdowns, restaurants are now also delivering to homes. Unfortunately, this does not always prove to be a profitable option. What do we hold on to from this time and what may we capitalize on in the coming time?
In the second part of this diptych, we take a closer look at the menu and look at developments in the digital domain. We also look ahead through a future perspective.
5. Custom menu
Those who have ventured into a delivery service have probably quickly discovered that not every dish lends itself to delivery. Whereas previously you could guarantee good quality in the restaurant, in the lockdown period you had to give baking instructions to take home or have packaging that retained sufficient heat.
It is now more common to have a menu that is easily ordered and delivered online, in addition to the menu in the restaurant. Forbes endorses this trend (Forbes, 2021). The expanded menu on location offers more extras and guests naturally come to the restaurant for the experience and to be finely served. This need will not simply disappear either, according to Forbes.
In addition, according to Forbes, consumers are inspired through social media to try out various products and dishes at home. At the time of corona, there is a huge increase online in which inspiring examples are shared from various countries. Guests expect to see this variety reflected on their restaurant menus. A restaurant experience should add something and offer something extra. Guests not only want comfort and to be served but also a unique taste experience and to be challenged (Forbes, 2021).
This does not make a visit to a hospitality establishment cheap. Here lies a challenge for the entrepreneur. So in addition to rising commodity prices (ABN Amro, 2021) and less available and professional staff (UWV, 2022), you do want to offer a good restaurant experience.
Many entrepreneurs therefore opt for a dichotomy on the menu where there are options to choose from the cheaper and ‘common’ dishes and the somewhat more luxurious and original dishes (Forbes, 2021). It is up to the guest to choose how colorful they want to make it.
6. Healthy eating
Environmentally friendly and local
Over the longer term, we have been seeing a trend where health and making environmentally friendly choices have become increasingly important (Horecava, 2022). Restaurants buy locally and purchase from biodynamic farms in the area. The ‘buy local idea’ is thus stimulated and entrepreneurs in each other’s neighborhoods know how to add economic value to an area together. We are now even more aware of the impact of long production chains in the food industry. Consumers are willing to pay more for this and are themselves choosing locally in a more targeted way (Emerce, 2021).
Consumers are also becoming increasingly aware of the impact of their food choices on the environment (Consumentenbond, 2021). Producing meat costs an enormous amount of water compared to vegetable dishes according to the Voedingscentrum and animal welfare is increasingly taken into account. It is therefore according to Misset Horeca (2022) a good reason to add vegetarian food to the restaurant menu or even switch to vegan food where you avoid animal products. Also, according to Forbes (2022), in this corner you can see vegan-oriented hospitality concepts emerging where these hospitality entrepreneurs are very consciously choosing to create a better world.
Regular drinking of alcohol is still a socially accepted habit in our society. Yet you see that more people are taking into account the health risks of alcohol. In late 2021 and early 2022, Forbes wrote several articles how the lockdown is causing the demand for non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drinks to rise (Forbes, 2021 and 2022). Campaigns like “Dry January” help raise awareness and motivate people to look for alternatives. Producers of beers and wines, according to Forbes, are responding to this and have been experimenting for years to find the best way to market these types of products in the most palatable alcohol-free or alcohol-poor way possible.
7. Be visible online
Entrepreneurs are not only forced by the lockdowns to be more and more visible online. This trend has been around for some time and is further discussed by both Emerce (2021) and Forbes (2021). Among other things, it manifests itself in the number of active social media users who focus on topics such as ‘food’ ‘gastronomy’ and ‘hospitality’. It’s no longer just the ‘foodies’ who are actively promoting and sharing healthy vegan recipes. Being visible online works and that penny now seems to be dropping for many hospitality entrepreneurs as well. Social media channels such as Instagram and TikTok offer the chance to entice guests with attractive photos of new dishes (Forbes, 2021). Videos with atmospheric images of a pleasant Friday night are in the ‘stories’.
Besides social media, it can also be interesting for restaurant owners to have their own website. For example, you can use the order website of Cashdesk, which allows you to stay in direct contact with your customer and avoid using expensive platforms such as Uber Eats and Thuisbezorgd. We wrote about this earlier in the first part of this diptych.
8. The use of technology
Many of the challenges faced by hospitality entrepreneurs are alleviated and sometimes even solved by new technological developments. After 2 years of living and communicating (almost) completely online, digitalization is also impossible to imagine restaurant life without. In the future, delivery robots can be used in case of staff shortages (Forbes, 2021 and Nu.nl, 2022) and you can already use a QR code to send a mobile order to the bar where you can pay for your order (mobile). Where this QR code was hardly used before the pandemic, experts expect that the QR code will not disappear anymore (CNBC, 2021). Despite all the technological developments, there will still be a need for human contact and getting service in the form of a waiter or waitress will also remain (Forbes, 2021).
What can we say about the future? Hospitality entrepreneurs are often hospitable and creative people and these traits will remain important. You will not escape thinking about various forms in which you want to offer your hospitality concept to your guests. What is practically possible? And what investments will I make to offer my guests a unique service? And how do you make that profitable? Where you previously ‘just’ had a café or restaurant with one menu, you now think about extras such as a delivery service, ordering via QR or a special line of luxury dishes on your menu.
Staff shortages are forcing entrepreneurs to invest in technology. Checkout and ordering should be fast and smooth and technology is available to facilitate this process. This applies to both guests on the terrace and guests who want their food delivered to their home. Whatever the wish, guests want to experience and continue to feel that passion for food and drink in their hospitality experience. The trick is to keep up with technological developments and online visibility and to weave in the human factor that connects you with your guest. At Cashdesk, we are here to help, with our innovative solution that makes the life of a hospitality entrepreneur easier. This way, you will have more time for your business.
UWV, 2022, Less job retention during corona, threat of staff shortage in hospitality sector
ABN Amro, 2021, Perfect storm for food entrepreneurs
ABN Amro, 2022, Higher production costs overshadow reopening hospitality sector
Forbes, 2021, Restaurant Industry Outlook For 2022: Five Trends To Watch
Horecava, 2022, A green terrace menu: how to do it?
Emerce, 2021, 44 percent of Dutch people willing to pay extra for local products and services
Consumentenbond, consulted on 8 April 2022, Sustainable eating
Misset Horeca, 2022, ‘With vegan on your menu you aim for a large group of flexitarians’.
Voedingscentrum, consulted on 8 April, Water consumption
Forbes, 2021, 4 Hottest Food Trends To Watch In 2022
Forbes, 2022, New Non-Alcoholic Releases And Trends For Dry January 2022
Emerce, 2021, Hospitality 2.0: The importance of social media for the holidays