Hospitality businesses have used the lockdown to carry out some serious soul-searching after recognising that the pandemic has dramatically altered consumers’ expectations of foodservice.
According to research from BRITA Professional, there has been a sharp increase in new concepts from hospitality firms eager to ensure they remain viable in the post-pandemic era.
With 95% of businesses agreeing consumers expectations of hospitality have changed since the Covid-19 pandemic, BRITA said it comes as little surprise that 88% of operators have used this time to reflect on their business strategy.
Its study shows that almost half (45%) of hospitality businesses believe that consumers want an enhanced experience when eating and drinking out.
Having spent so long at home, 45% of businesses believe there will be a greater demand for meals and drinks that consumers can’t recreate at home.
Despite this, an equal amount (45%) believe that consumers want better value for money. And 59% think consumers want restaurant quality food for home delivery and takeaway.
In response to these changing expectations, 55% of hospitality and catering businesses have introduced new concepts, altered their menus (48%) or updated their equipment (38%) to improve productivity.
BRITA Professional’s research reveals that almost 90% of operators are confident that their business can react quickly to changes in circumstance.
This is reflected in the priorities of hospitality and catering businesses when it comes to staff training.
46% of businesses will focus on hiring innovative and creative staff in order to future proof their business, and more than a third will make this a focus of their training.
65% say that effective teamwork will be a focus for staff training in the future, as well as hygiene and cleaning protocols (43%).
Steve Buckmaster, director of sales at BRITA UK, said: “With an end of lockdown roadmap now in place, businesses have the green light to start preparing for what will hopefully be a normal service this summer.
“While this has been an extremely challenging time for hospitality and catering businesses, the industry has shown its ability to adapt to changing consumer expectations. This research has revealed the need that hospitality businesses have for creativity, innovation and exceptional teamwork.”