Omne Agency today unveils its Unchartered Waters report, detailing the ongoing pressures facing food and hospitality operators and brand-new consumer research – and the opportunities to drive growth through consumer’s hunger for new experiences.
Leading foodservice agency Omne’s report finds that 79% of operators are ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about the cost-of-living crisis. Food inflation is up 18.8% YoY (up from 15% in August) and soaring energy and labour costs combined with rising staff pay (+10% over the last twelve months) has added heat to the kitchen.
In contrast to these pressures, Unchartered Waters focuses on opportunity and the importance of the new.
The report shows that 39% of consumers have not visited a new hospitality venue in the last year. However, there is still a clear hunger for ‘new’ compared to 2021 – as 62% of consumers are now more likely to try a new dish when out.1.
In the full report, Omne reveals five key actions that food and hospitality operators can implement to fit in with consumer’s mid-crisis desire for new:
#1 Quality is key
When consumers are offered a choice between a cheaper meal that is greater value for money or a more expensive meal that is better quality, over two thirds (65%) opt for the latter.
Quality and value for money are intertwined in the minds of consumers. 44% of consumers define value for money as “something which is good quality” – whereas only 13% define it as “the cheaper option”.
Premiumisation is an effective way for operators to tap into this attitudinal shift.
#2 Demonstrate ethical and sustainable thinking
Sustainability is rising up the agenda for modern consumers. Omne’s research reveals that 79% of consumers agree, or strongly agree, that a venue’s sustainable practices have become more important than a year ago.
Sustainability is a tangible driver of business growth. Visible sustainable practices pay dividends in driving loyalty and boosting a venue’s reputation – as 42% of consumers will recommend sustainable venues to family and friends.2
#3 A little goes a long way
Experience is everything in hospitality. Consumers notice when venue’s put in extra effort.
64% of consumers agree that being able to try new food items enhances their overall going out experience – and 91% consumers describe having new or different food choices as “more important” to the overall eating experience compared to last year.
#4 Enhancing the value for experience
Experience amplifies the value of the products. And Omne’s research shows that it is also a key driver of loyalty and repeat visits – with 67% of business leaders ranking experience as second only to service as the most influential driver of consumer visits in 2022.
#5 Establishing innovative collaboration with suppliers
Supply chain issues and rising costs are increasing the pressure on venues. Omne’s data shows that 53% of venues are considering working with fewer suppliers or rationalising their supply bases.
When asked how suppliers could help food and drink operators, the answer was overwhelmingly through competitive pricing (74% of all respondents) – with this figure rising 10% YoY. The full report details the most decisive pillars of a Supplier-Operator relationship – and explores how operators can grow more lucrative relationships in the face of rising costs.
Anna Massey, Strategy Director at Omne, said “These are challenging times for food and hospitality businesses. But as this report shows, when the market changes, new opportunities for growth emerge. And there is a clear opening for the businesses who focus on consumer’s growing desire for ‘new’. New menu options, new experiences – and a renewed approach to sustainability.”
To access the full insights, contact Charli Garner, Director of Hospitality Brands, at email@example.com.