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The Changing Face of Dining Out: How to Entice Guests

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Data from MCA’s September Eating Out Panel shows that 92.5% of UK adults dine out of the home, in comparison…

Data from MCA’s September Eating Out Panel shows that 92.5% of UK adults dine out of the home, in comparison to 92.3% in September 2018. This is a small but meaningful improvement, suggesting that despite the current economic climate, dining out is still a priority for people.

While average spend per visit is also up from last year across both breakfast, lunch and dinner, only dinner service has seen a positive change in the frequency with diners heading out an average of 2.5 times per month.

According to MCA’s 2019 Eating Out in the UK Report, the fastest growing branded restaurants have been those that offer more premium and aspirational dining experiences. Ventures such as Dishoom and The Ivy Grills & Brasseries have profited from these clever positions with their sales growth for 2019 estimated at 19% and 29% respectively.

Diners are looking for well-rounded experiences when dining out, which is reflected in the fact that while they are dining out less than in previous years, they are doing so more frequently for dinner service, and spending more when they do so.

With the face of dining out rapidly changing, it’s vital that caterers can adapt to the changing expectations of diners or otherwise risk losing their business. Read on for some of the ways in which you can entice guests.

Keep Your Menu Fresh 

The key to turning diners into repeat customers is to have a constantly evolving menu that will bring guests back time and time again with the promise of new dishes to entice them with. Whether you choose to do this by creating seasonal menus, or simply swapping over certain dishes a few times a year while maintaining your core set of staple dishes, it is entirely up to you. The main thing is to not forget about your menu because as soon as you do, your guests will too. Our recipes are created using the latest ingredients, so make sure you check back regularly for some culinary inspiration!

A seasonal menu often works best for establishments where it will fit in with their overall identity and can be used to appeal to diners who are passionate about sustainability and locally sourced ingredients.

Focus on Quality 

With customers now, on average, spending more when they dine out, they expect only the best when it comes to the food they will be eating. They want to be impressed with dazzling creations and innovative flavour combinations. According to Mintel’s 2019 Executive Summary, Eating Out: The Decision Making Process, 65% of consumers say their restaurant choice is driven by how high the quality of the food is rather than value for money.

The key to creating the quality dishes that diners expect is to use the best ingredients. By working with the right suppliers, catering professionals can ensure that they are getting the best ingredients, at the best price, allowing them to balance quality and profitability.

Capitalise on New Flavours and Trends

Consumers are always keen to try the latest flavour combinations and exotic ingredients. Not only are they increasingly open to trying global flavours, but they are actively seeking these out. In order to entice these adventurous diners, you need to keep up with the latest trends, creating dishes that showcase these popular ingredients.

Spices are the perfect way to do so as they allow you to experiment with new flavours in a much more cost-effective way than using fresh ingredients would. You can pick and choose flavours from around the world, allowing you to serve guests global cuisines, no matter where you are.

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