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Hospitality Trends for 2022

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The past 2 years have seen a dramatic change in the way hospitality owners run their business. While some changes were short-term fixes, many trends will remain for years to come. Here we look at some ways hospitality venues can adapt their workflows and processes to ensure they’re offering the most convenient service at the highest standard.

Hospitality has always been a cut-throat business, and now more than ever it is crucial to understand what customers really want and how technology will impact dining, allowing venues to consistently deliver exceptional experiences for their guests.

Digital Payments on the Up and Up

Digital payments will play an increasingly significant role in the future of dining, and it’s predicted that the number of digital payment users will rise from 3.8 million users to 6.2 million by 2025.

The decline of cash payments was further cemented throughout the pandemic with many venues not accepting cash for health and safety reasons. Cash payments were already steadily declining in Australia, with under 27% of consumer payments now made in cash. This decline can also largely be attributed to the swift rise in contactless payments options, such as tap-and-go and digital wallets like Apple Pay, thanks to the convenience and safety they offer.

According to our research, 56% of Australians believe that contactless payment options would make them feel more comfortable dining out. Impos recently launched their new integrated payment platform ImposPay, the all-in-one POS terminal that’s designed to enhance the customer experience at every touchpoint.

Increase in Online Food Delivery

In 2019 alone, 2 million Australians used an app or delivery platform to order their food. However, online food delivery is set to further accelerate over the next few years – hitting 4.6 million users by 2025.

Customer demand for exceptional quality delivery food is set to remain high, and businesses must invest in, rather than neglect, their delivery offerings.
A recent OpenTable survey of 1,000 Australian diners found that 79% wanted restaurants to continue to offer takeout and delivery services. Most customers embrace a return to in-person dining; however, 18 months of restrictions have led to many diners craving the convenience that delivery orders afford. Therefore, it’s crucial for venues to still offer dedicated delivery services, with hand-picked dishes that will travel well.

Contactless Ordering on the Rise

The prominence of QR codes in our daily lives has significantly increased in the last 18 months, thanks to mandatory venue check-ins. This acceptance into mainstream culture has opened a new and exciting channel for hospitality businesses to embrace as customers return to venues.

With so many contactless ordering options for venues, it’s important to do your research and understand the different setup costs and ongoing fees. A standout partner we recommend is JOMO who don’t charge a setup fee and charge a modest commission compared to their competitors.

In a recent survey, 57% of respondents stated they would choose a venue based on the availability of QR technology. Your venue doesn’t have to solely adopt QR ordering but giving customers the option will go a long way to reassuring cautious guests that dining in your venue is both safe and convenient.

Plant-based Options A Must

Gone are the days of having a token generic vegetarian or vegan dish on the menu with 42% of Australians either reducing the amount of meat they consume or cutting it from their diet completely. In addition to this, Australia was the second-most popular nation globally for vegans in 2020, behind only the UK.

This considerable shift in eating habits highlights that plant-based eating is no longer just a fad that hospitality businesses can hope to ignore. Even fast-food giants Hungry Jacks, Gusman Y Gomez and Dominos have added expansive vegetarian and vegan options to their menus.

With more Australians taking a keen interest in what they eat and where their food comes from, hospitality venues need to fine-tune their offerings to appeal to this fast-growing market of conscious consumers. By excluding plant-based options from your menu, you will likely miss out on potential sales from customers who otherwise would have come to your venue.

Cost Effective Online Ordering

The pandemic forced a lot of venue to pivot quickly to takeaway menus and online ordering but are now frustrated and tired of paying exorbitant 3rd party delivery fees. Online ordering systems offer a prime opportunity for hospitality venues to leverage the personalisation that consumers prefer. When venues cater their digital ordering platforms to each individual customer, everybody wins: Consumers can easily order their favourite meals and take advantage of promotions, and restaurant operators can help boost check averages by encouraging diners to add their favourite menu items to their order before checkout.

This was a market that became even more saturated throughout the pandemic with some venue owners forced to make haste decisions. Again, it is crucial to research the best solution for your business. Impos proudly launched Cinch in 2020 as a direct result of the pandemic and the need for a more cost-effective solution and one that also allowed venues to retain their staff to fulfil delivery in-house.

Alcohol Delivery A Winner

The popularity of takeaway alcohol also took off during the pandemic. In a bid to help struggling hospitality businesses, state and territory governments allowed venues to sell takeaway alcohol, such as takeout cocktails or growlers of beer.

In parallel with this, the ATO scrapped their tax on takeaway cocktails and re-packaged tap beers – an initiative that was extremely helpful to businesses by removing extra layers of regulation.

In August 2021, the ATO announced that it was permanently removing the red tape for their tax on takeaway alcohol, paving the way for hospitality businesses to capitalise on this trend way into the future.

Say Goodbye to Paper and Plastic

Paper and plastic waste is another pressing issue for a growing number of eco-conscious customers. According to recent research, 80% of consumers want to see a reduction in plastic packaging following the COVID-19 pandemic. And additionally, 85% believe it’s time to move away from single-use materials in favour of packaging made from recycled materials.

Hospitality venues must acknowledge this shift in consumer attitudes towards paper and plastic waste and prioritise reducing the amount of waste they produce to appeal to a growing number of sustainably minded consumers.

Alfresco Dining is Here to Stay

In a pre-pandemic world, businesses had to jump through several hoops to get an outdoor dining permit. However, state governments are set to permanently relax outdoor dining and drinking regulations, making it easier for businesses to get council approval.
This move is set to be popular with customers, as a recent OpenTable report found that 81% of diners want expanded outdoor dining to become a mainstay for hospitality businesses.

An outdoor dining trial with businesses in The Rocks and Darling Harbour was a roaring success – prompting the NSW Government to roll out similar initiatives across the state in late 2021.

During the first eight weeks of the trial, Darling Harbour businesses reported an average increase of 33 per cent in business turnover and a 27 per cent increase in patrons.