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Emerging Trends in the Food and Drink Sector

A recent published report on understanding consumer behaviour in the restaurant and bar sector conveyed what may seem to be some good news for 2019 and beyond.

Whilst it was a difficult and uncertain 2018 for some businesses within this sector, with a number of high streets seeing CVAs, it was not all bad news, with restructuring by way of buyouts, strategic acquisitions and investments for some chains; Wagamama was acquired by The Restaurant Group, TriSpan acquired a majority stake in Rosa’s Thai Café and Stonegate acquired the Be At One chain.  Jamie’s, Prezzo, Carluccios and Byron all did CVAs and the collapse of Patisserie Valerie left some high street businesses in an uncertain position - and landlords with empty property or compromised debt.  It is predicted there may now be a shift in power from the landlord to the tenant, with the potential of realignment of returns to landlords and favourable rent reviews.

Those businesses within the sector that are quick to respond to current trends are expected to be more likely to succeed in 2019. The buzz words continuing and emerging  throughout 2019 are; “experiences” “authenticity” “health conscious” “environment” “sustainable” “craft beers” “ gin ” (serve  it in a stylish glass with a colourful flavour, add some accompanying fruit or herbs and it has turned an old fashioned drink into a memorable experience worth sharing on social media….. and paying a premium price!), “vegetarian” “vegan” (the Marmite subject - love it or hate it, and in no small way  thanks to Piers Morgan and the Gregg’s sausage roll rant  2019 may be the year for investment and growth!) “less meat” “less sugar” and “less alcohol” (although see “gin” and “craft beers”!?!)

It is also predicted there will be a continuing shift towards, and increase in spending on, experiences, with an upsurge in activity based leisure concepts such as darts, crazy golf, escape rooms and an expectation that these will flourish in 2019.  Furthermore, as consumers continue to purchase goods online, we may start to see multi operator sites offering less in the way of retail and more food and drink led experiences, including potentially some department stores dedicating whole floors to the sector. 

The focus in 2018, particularly in the press, was on the struggles of some of the major chains and the use of CVAs as a rescue procedure.  However, despite the positive forecasts for 2019, independent operators should not rest on their laurels, as there’s a danger that cost pressures and the challenges of labour shortages will continue to put pressure on businesses right across the hospitality sector.

For more information on this article or for advice please call Sally Jones on 01132 211356.

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