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Our founder, Daniel Cornwell, took to LinkedIn to say where the hospitality industry may be headed in Great Britain. He felt it was time to give his two cents on what’s likely to direct new senior management positions in the years to come.

Daniel’s post caused a stir online – it generated debate, comparison and deeper questions into the state of the sector. So we decided to delve deeper into the topic and reached out to three industry leaders in our network, asking for their input too. Here’s what they had to say.

Thom Hetherington (CEO, Northern Restaurant & Bar)

“Whilst it’s all a matter of what you choose to see, I have a couple of ideas for where the industry is moving to. Suburban restaurants, for instance, are enjoying a wellspring of attention. They’re cheaper to run than a city centre venue, and aren’t too serious about what they serve or present to neighbourhood diners.

“Smaller, more entrepreneurial concepts are doing well too: crowdfunding is removing the need for a bank loan, so stalls and street carts can thrive if the idea is good enough.

“Market halls are another beneficiary of the ‘local-first’ trend. People want a place they can return to, not an overpriced, novelty experience that leaves their heart and stomachs a bit empty. Altrincham in South Manchester has changed drastically in recent times, with an indoor market to support regional events.”

Russell Danks (Founder, Future Factory London)

“If you ask me, there’s a massive shift in home-dining habits. Deliveroo and Just Eat are fighting for supremacy, as their users don’t see takeaways as a rarity anymore – the whole thing has become commonplace. Sensing the winds change, Deliveroo have set up a package delivery programme. This allows for limitless drop-offs at just £10 a month. The future will see other brands similarly experimenting.

“Meanwhile, vegetarianism keeps getting more space on our plates and menus. Chains such as Pret A Manger are opening veg-only stores. Plant-based burgers are coming from North America with the same taste and texture as meat. These are just two examples of developments that have resulted from a desire to be more environmentally friendly. It’s amazing to note, for instance, that 70% of British outlets no longer serve plastic straws – showing huge appetite for sustainability.”

Chris Xavier (Managing Director, Beehive Telecom and Korubu Software)

Technology is opening up whole new opportunities for bars and restaurants. The ways in which they interact with people, as well as their operations, are shifting into the digital age. Apps such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats have become longstanding, common practice in large cities, and the suburbs are quickly following suit. Payment and ordering platforms are advancing too – guest Wi-Fi solutions are improving service standards, but I think we should remain wary of being tech-first in every aspect; nothing can beat the human touch.

“In fact, many venues are struggling to integrate new tools due to their dated infrastructure and poor connectivity. Tech-driven opportunities rely on a solid IT backbone with speedy internet to roll out the carpet, as it were. If the right systems are in place but don’t work, they suddenly become inefficacious.”

Whether you’re managing a hospitality brand or seeking to apply your skills in a new role, there are a lot of prevailing trends that make it an exciting time to be in this sector. To sum up, these are our key takeaways:

  • Consumers are leaning towards low cost and exceptional service, or the upper end of the hospitality spectrum. Brands in the middle are losing out.
  • Social consciousness is more of a factor in where people go to eat and drink. This is expressed through vegetarianism, recycling and community-first venues.
  • Technology for the sake of it is not doing businesses any favours. It is revolutionising major urban deliveries, yet falls flat when in-venue networks aren’t quick or reliable enough.

Thanks to all of our contributors for their insights. If you’re keen to explore opportunities in hospitality, either through securing senior management positions or sourcing top talent to get ahead of trends, we can help. Speak to the SPE team today to discuss how.