If you’ve turned up to a restaurant without a reservation recently the chances are you were turned away. As 2017 unfolds, food has never been such a popular subject; from Instagram ‘Foodies’ to Masterchef and the Great British Bake Off. Meanwhile, we’ve seen an increasing number of restaurants opening, all trying to satisfy modern consumers’ more educated, sophisticated palates and appetite for dining experiences they haven’t had before.
Experience economy fuelling our love of eating out
Going out to eat has become so engrained in our culture it is now estimated we will each, on average, spend a quarter of a million pounds in our lifetimes on doing just that. One measure of our obsession is that you only need to search #instafood in Instagram for it to return 87m posts on the subject.
This boom may be partly attributable to Millennials choosing to live in the moment and divert spend from possessions to experiences. This group is said to be eating out, typically, three times a week or more, and it’s no wonder that pubs, restaurants and cafés have stepped up their game in response. Consumers' hunger for newness has seen players battle to create ‘the next big thing’ – be it a more relaxed dining experience, menus that span a world of different cuisines, round-the-clock eating hours or new heights in terms of food quality and presentation.
Families have also been driving this trend. Motivated by the ease of catering for varying households taste-buds and building meaningful family time. This group of consumers seek value and adventure, whilst also looking for consistency from a brand, which in turn can lead to greater loyalty.
Moving forwards we may well witness a further shift that sees the food itself become a lower priority than the wider dining experience. Some outlets are putting the emphasis on the social aspect more than the culinary one; Dans Le Noir in London is a great example of this, dining in darkness and served by blind waiters consumers are taken on a sensory journey; or Bounce in London, allowing customers to grab something to eat whilst playing ping-pong.
#Control can’t be ignored – sense of speed the biggest gripe when eating out
It can often feel like we’re busier than ever and that juggling work and life is a constant headache. Consequently, brands can win by offering dining options that work in sync with modern lifestyles; products and services being tailored in a way that leaves consumers with that much-prized sense of #Control #ABA5Drivers.
Some players have done this by fostering the perception that the usership experience will be slicker and quicker. Speedy ordering options and payments have become the norm; as with Starbucks’ pre-ordering. Similarly, the communal dining format at Wagamama’s conveys the impression that no unnecessary frills are slowing the process. In both cases the waiting time feels shorter even if, in reality, it’s almost exactly the same.
The importance of getting this element right is underlined by a recent survey, which showed that slow service is consumers’ biggest bugbear. The Brits have much to learn from the US on this front. Over the pond, before you’ve even finished your final mouthful, your plate will have been cleared and the cheque placed on your table.
Source: ABA Survey, 1,037 UK consumers, May 2017
So, speed will increasingly be of the essence as it is a major part of delivering #Control – and, as #ABA5Drivers demonstrates, without Control it is difficult for other aspects of the experience to be appreciated. If we are worried about catching the movie it’s is hard to be wowed by the dessert.
SEE WHY RESTAURANTS NEED TO PUT MORE DIGITAL ON THEIR MENUS