With the significant economic challenges of 2022 in mind, 2023 might bring increased conversations about sustainability, more demands for convenience and the rise of virtual brands.
2023 is a year that will reflect unresolved issues with lingering impacts. Rapid socio-economic shifts and crises have had profound, global impacts on hospitality businesses in 2022. Looking closely at the UK’s specific situation, things have been incredibly difficult, as the post-pandemic economy – influenced by factors like high inflation, staff shortages, and reduced consumer spending – has led to an estimated £115 billion in losses to the hospitality sector.
In light of this year’s economic downturn, caution and fear on the part of consumers is increasingly evident, and these changes in consumer attitudes and spending have had a profound effect on businesses. For instance, according to recent research conducted by Peckwater Brands, since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers spend 16 per cent less per month in restaurants on average than they used to. Additionally, the soaring cost of energy and food has had devastating impacts for businesses and consumers.
Despite the economic austerity evident in both policy and public mood, businesses can endure these difficult conditions by staying vigilant for vital trends that will dominate in the year ahead. With a keen awareness of 2022’s unique obstacles, here are three important trends that 2023 may have in store:
All eyes on sustainability policy
Monitoring the sustainability of products and services has never been more vital for hospitality businesses. Practices like throwing away all leftover food at closing time are receiving acute public disapproval.
As consumers become more invested in understanding businesses’ waste management and sustainability, there has never been a stronger emphasis on environmental practices within hospitality.
This means brands must disclose their sustainability practices and invest in ethical measures as far as possible. It will be crucial for businesses to articulate their sustainability efforts online in meaningful ways, spotlighting successful efforts and initiatives. Companies with the best green credentials have a better chance of standing out in a crowded marketplace, which is something that will be incredibly valuable in 2023.
Capitalising on customer needs with convenience
The enduring demand for food delivery apps proves that consumers value convenience highly, which means that brands without a fortified digital presence and capacity will be missing out on a sizeable market. Brands can invest in creating user-friendly platforms including websites and apps that are optimised for functionality and User Experience (UX).
Behind this trend will be two key factors – data and branding. Businesses simply cannot afford to miss out on the visibility and stickiness that these bring to their offering, so driving their online presence with a data-driven branding approach is vital. Any business marketing their products on delivery apps must carefully curate the images of items available, provide clear descriptions and work to make themselves appealing to the short attention spans of today’s overstimulated consumer.
The continued rise of virtual brands
Delivery aggregator apps offer customers food to their door and offer businesses a lucrative way to distribute their products and services. In this space, virtual brands – delivery-only food brands that operate exclusively on delivery aggregators – have enjoyed a steady rise. Brands have reported an increase of between £12,103 – £57,687 in additional income each month since adopting a virtual brand.
Generally, virtual brands offer ultimate flexibility to businesses, allowing them to provide a secondary offering that can keep pace with changing tastes without disrupting their primary offering.
Overall, it is clear that hospitality businesses must be incredibly perceptive about consumer demands to survive the ever-evolving landscape. Hospitality is a sector that exposes the health of an economy both in times of prosperity, and in times of unpredictability and decline. Regardless of the economy’s fiscal health, being aware of the above trends will help businesses to find as much economic solvency as possible in times of shrinkage.