It looks like 2018 has a whole host of challenges ahead for the industry. Challenges, indeed, which will force some businesses to adapt their strategies. So, what modus operandi will become thematic over the next 12 months, why will these trends emerge, and how can restaurant businesses take advantage?
New spaces for up and coming ventures
With Boxpark and Wool Yard’s openings in 2018 (Wembley and Woolwich respectively), fledging restaurants will be given even more opportunity to lay the foundations for their business. What Boxpark and Wool Yard’s (Wool Yard will be sister to community driven, startup-supporting platform Pop Brixton) predecessors have done so well for food setups – such as Kricket, Smoke & Salt, and Fish Wings & Tings – is give them a springboard on which to build their ideas before they expand into their own sites, or extend their current ones to a new audience. Other locations inspired by this concept continue to roll out around the UK too, including Wapping Wharf’s Cargo in Bristol and Spark:York.
Localism to the fore
The concept of eating local produce has been marketed for decades, but with the Brexit initiation date scheduled for early 2019, it will become especially prominent in the coming months. Why? With uncertainties surrounding the importation of goods, and predictions that the cost of these goods will increase, restaurateurs could be forced to seek suppliers and producers more local to them. Though this may impact on cost, with increasing demands for food to be sourced from small independent British farmers it could be a blessing in disguise.
Making cheffing great again
2017 saw a lot of talk in the industry around working conditions in the kitchen, the links that has with drug abuse, and comparatively low wages. Discussions on issues such as chef shortage, and negative attitudes to women, shows that desirability to work in a restaurant kitchen is at a low. With more recruitment obstacles on the horizon (namely what could happen with migrant workers), perhaps 2018 is the year the industry finally resorts to addressing this.
Alternative ways of finding staff
Should efforts in making the restaurant a place where people are more likely to have the desire to work fail, restaurateurs may find themselves seeking unconventional methods of recruitment. With the right credentials, it may be that drafting ex-offenders, for example, or those who’ve worked themselves out of a disadvantaged situation, becomes a port-of-call for restaurateurs around the country. These are the philosophies behind initiatives such as Galvin’s Chance, which in 2017 was formally recognised by the Mayfair Awards as ‘Best charitable Initiative’, and Fred Sirieix’s National Waiter’s Day, which in 2017 enjoyed its most subscribed event yet.
The rise (or fall?) of review sites
The subtext of a recent Vice piece, which currently has 52,000 shares on Facebook alone, played on the power of fake TripAdvisor reviews. It pulled the veracity and trustfulness of review aggregators into question: On one hand, this could be the beginning of consumer’s recognition of their flaws. On the other, it’s clear that reviews are a powerful tool, and key to the decision making-process, and it could be that in 2018 restaurants focus more on encouraging guests’ verified public reviews.
The ‘posh pub’ model back in vogue
The British boozer – through many faults of its own – has been in steady decline for some time now. Maida Vale pub the Truscott Arms was last year one of the many casualties, but it was a loss for London’s dining out scene as much as it was the local regulars. Luckily for all, the Truscott Arms is being revived at the tail end of 2017, while more pubs of its ilk have followed suit – with the success of Roux Jr’s The Wigmore which opened in July, and anticipated new entry The Blue Posts from the team that brought us The Palomar (to name a few), could fancy food-led pubs be leading the charge into 2018?
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