Navigating Shifting Tides: Evolving Hospitality Industry Continues to Meet Modern Consumer Needs

In a recent article published by Propel, a spotlight is cast on the ever-evolving nature of the hospitality industry in the UK. The data from CGA by NIQ’s Hospitality at Home Tracker for July underscores a notable trend: managed restaurant groups are witnessing growth in delivery and takeaway sales for the second consecutive month. This growth of 4% in comparison to the previous year highlights a sector that is finding innovative ways to cater to the dynamic preferences of the modern consumer.

The trajectory of the industry, once impacted significantly by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, has entered a new phase. The Tracker’s findings point towards a clear shift in consumer behaviour. While a record of 18 negative months showcased a decline in takeaway and delivery sales during the pandemic, the tide seems to have turned. This positive trend indicates that restaurant-goers are increasingly seeking the convenience and flexibility of delivery and takeaway options, even as traditional dining experiences regain their allure.

However, an interesting facet is revealed by the figures. While sales for delivery and takeaway have risen by 6% and 2% respectively, order volumes have seen a decline of 4% and 2%. This pattern suggests that growth might be driven by adjusted menu pricing rather than a surge in customer demand. The evolving nature of the industry is not just about the method of consumption, but also how establishments adapt to pricing strategies that resonate with their customers.

The data showcases the integral role that delivery and takeaway services play in the restaurant ecosystem, accounting for 14% of total sales in July. However, food and drink within the establishments still retain the lion’s share of the market, accounting for 91% and 9% respectively.

Karl Chessell, CGA’s director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, offered a poignant insight into the findings. He noted that while the growth is commendable, the drop in order volumes indicates that consumer spending constraints are at play. Rising prices could nudge some patrons to scale back on their delivery and takeaway frequency. The challenge, therefore, lies in striking a delicate balance between adapting to evolving market dynamics and ensuring affordability for the customer.

The article underscores the resilience of the hospitality industry in the face of changing consumer preferences. While delivery and takeaway services continue to be vital components, establishments must be agile in navigating pricing strategies to maintain growth while keeping pace with consumer demands. The path forward involves harmonising convenience, affordability, and excellence to cater to the diverse needs of the modern consumer.