John Finlayson – Head of Business Partnerships in Business Development
In 2017, the food service industry in the U.K. reached £88 billion. What’s more, consumer spending has increased steadily year-on-year since 2015. Today, we’re hanging out with friends in bars and cafes almost as much as we are staying at home.
To celebrate a time of great opportunity in the sector, we’ve put together our five favourite stats about food service that will delight your palate.
1. Millennials make up a third of restaurants’ annual revenue
According to research conducted by CMS Law in May 2018, the millennial generation make up 29 percent of restaurants’ annual revenue.
There are many reasons for this. The report claims that 40 percent of millennials live at home with their parents, that 20 percent live with a partner but have no children, and that 54 percent work full time jobs.
As millennials enter their peak earning years, the gap between expenses and disposable income will widen, meaning they’ll have more money to spend on dining out.
2. Restaurant owners are optimists
Last year in the United Kingdom, 60 percent of people felt very or quite positive about the future prospects of the food and drink industry, according to a report by BDO. What’s more, half of respondents expected profitability to increase as they entered into 2019.
To those readers who still believe in this, we admire your confidence. The question that remains, then, is how can the industry maintain this level of growth? A good first step might be to improve your customer experience.
3. 38 percent of dining experiences involve a smartphone
That’s right. Today, nearly 40 percent of dining experiences now involve a smartphone. Whether it’s to conduct initial restaurant research or to directly place an order, our phones are becoming more integral to how we eat.
This consumer behaviour is driving technological innovation for the QSR. In fact, a study by Omnico discovered that six in 10 customers cite waiting in line for food or to pay as the main discouragements to visiting restaurants more often. Technology, then, would help mitigate this barrier.
4. 30 percent of sales at Starbucks came from Mobile Order & Pay
In 2017, more than 30 percent of sales at Starbucks came through their mobile app.
Mobile Order & Pay solutions are an inevitability in the food service industry. These solutions are bringing real benefit to the industry, through:
Improving the customer experience: Customers can avoid queues, sit at a table and wait for their order.
Returning vital time to employees: Employees can now focus on preparing food and drink and not taking orders and payments.
Impacting bottom lines: Starbucks’ annual revenue grew by 5.02 in 2017.
While mobile internet usage continues to rise, the prominence of Mobile Order & Pay solutions will follow suit.
5. Consumers are becoming more food conscious
One in eight Britons now identify as vegan or vegetarian, and a further 21 percent are flexitarian, according to a Waitrose & Partners food and drink report.
While the percentage of vegans across the U.K. is still small, younger generations are waking up to the effects of food on the body and the environment.
For a restaurant, then, you have an opportunity to do good for your customer and community, which in turn will translate into greater exposure, and ultimately, more loyal visitors through the door.
Be good, do good
Restaurants, bars and cafés bring people together. When you look around, you’ll see couples on dates, families laughing with their children and friends out for a good time.
That experience is what the food service industry was made for, and its why consumers are spending more money on eating out. Sure, good food is important, but it’s the lasting connections that really count for something.
At Wi5, the big question we’re answering is: how can we make the customer experience better? We think mobile ordering is the way forward. After all, nobody wants to be the person who misses out on a hilarious story because it was their round at the bar.