Wi5 exhibited at the lunch! show at ExCeL London on 19 & 20 September – a trade show that boasts a massive food-to-go audience and exhibitors providing everything from the latest and greatest snacks to emerging tech innovations.
Needless to say, the team was excited to be amongst such a crowd, especially as it was just our second trade show. Pictured to the right is the final look of our stand – it isn’t as imaginative or wild as some of the food and drink vendors, which we’ll get to later, but it was where all the magic of demoing Wi5 happened. If you look closely you can even see the Wi5 branded tote bags we gave away.
After a whirlwind couple of days, and a very successful show for Wi5, we’ve put together three key ideas that kept popping up throughout lunch! 2019.
1. In-venue experience is as important as ever
With increasing competition in the grab and go sector, and really the dining industry as a whole, there’s a notable focus shift towards in-store customer experience. This was echoed over and over by keynote speakers and was even evident in the way stands were presented. Standard exhibitor spaces are no longer the norm, as we witnessed stands transform into mock-ups of cozy coffee-shops, storefronts and even food trucks. Everything is an experience.
Scott Macdonald, the MD for Sourced Market led a compelling keynote called ‘Giving Customers What They Want … Hospitality 1st, Retail 2nd’. Self explanatory, isn’t it? But, it does spark ideas of how QSRs can be placing experience, personalisation and instagrammable ‘vibes’ over traditional retail flows.
2. The future is environmentally friendly
Odds are, you’ve noticed the flurry of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options in the market. Consumers are choosing products that are healthier and meet their dietary needs, as well as those that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. There’s a big desire to know where food is coming from, and what’s in it, signalling a push towards locally sourced products. A perfect example we witnessed (and tasted) is snack brand Yes!snacks, whose gluten free protein bars also boast fully recyclable paper wrappers. Another one we loved is eco-friendly, plastic free cutlery by Biopac who are encouraging people to #bethechange.
Costa Coffee is pioneering this space after making a huge commitment to recycling as of 2018. Their Head of Environment, Ollie Rosevear, weighed in on how food-to-go can achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 in the Sustainability Panel. Overall, it was great to see that an environmental focus is sticking to central stage.
3. Coffee shops are conquering the ‘one cuppers’
The plight of the ‘one cupper’ is one that every coffee shop knows – that is, the nature of customers to order only one beverage and still use the facilities for hours and hours on end. This all too common dilemma is forcing cafes and coffeeshops to think of innovative ways to get that second and third sale out of a customer. We mentioned the importance of experience above, but an atmospheric element isn’t enough to drive past that first sale. There were lunch! exhibitors solutions pushing solutions for coffee-shops, such as improved up-sell/ad-on items (so many tasty options) and design solutions to make every inch of space work.
Fellow lunch! exhibitor UCC Coffee boasts a ‘Total Coffee Solution’; they manage all aspects of coffee for their partners by putting excellence at centre stage with from curating coffee, choosing equipment and digging into data. As we said, every cup counts.
Catch you at the next one
We’re still buzzing from lunch! and will be attending more industry events in the coming months. Next up? The Restaurant Show on 30 September at London Olympia. Meet the team at stand GM20 and/or pre-book a meeting to see how Wi5 can help get your customers ordering and paying on mobile. After The Restaurant Show, we’ll be setting our sights on The Restaurant & Takeaway Innovation Expo, back at ExCeL London on 20 November, at stand G252. We hope to see you there!