3 of the Biggest Hospitality Challenges for 2018 and Beyond

Chris Eden
Chris Eden, Senior Writer for Reputation.com

We’ve scoured the web to gather together the three biggest challenges set to hit the UK’s thriving hospitality industry for the remainder of 2018.

The Blue Planet Effect

The turning of public opinion in favour of more environmentally-friendly lifestyles was well under way before the hit BBC show returned in late 2017. But with an average audience of around 13 million, it has certainly helped reinforce the necessity to reduce our plastic intake and increase recycling across the UK and beyond.

In recent months, we’ve seen big high street chains, including Pret a Manger and Costa, experiment with discounts to customers bringing in their own cups for their drink, as well as Starbucks trialling a ‘levy’ on disposable cups in London this year. Additionally, Deliveroo and other chains are actively researching ways to reduce their plastic usage in packaging to help improve their carbon footprint. And, high-volume plastics such as straws and Nespresso-style coffee capsules are also under scrutiny — with JD Weatherspoon recently announcing plans to stop offering straws all together.

As we continue further into 2018, how will these changes affect your brand?

Changing Consumer Tastes

Earlier this week, the UK high street was hit by one of its worst days in recent memory, with household names such as Toys”R”Us and Maplin taking the headlines as they fell into administration. What fell under the radar for many people was the news involving Prezzo, Jamie’s Italian -Barbacoa, TexMex and Chimichanga, who are all preparing to close most or all their restaurants, due to poor financial results.

This news is undoubtedly the result of numerous problems; but earlier in February, the CEO of Jamie’s Italian, Jon Knight, said that the chain had become “complacent” and had failed to innovate over the course of its 10-year run — to meet the changing tastes of the consumer.

A recent article in The Guardian confirms that the casual dining boom of 2010 to 2016 is now well over, and due to aggressive initial expansion of chains, disposable income being squeezed across the country and a general trend away from casual dining, many brands are feeling the effect on their bottom line.

Do you listen to your customers to know what they like to see on your menu?

Sector Growth = More Competition

In stark contrast to the last point, the UK’s hospitality industry is actually thriving, contributing around £73bn to the economy across 2016 – 2017. Additionally, bucking the trend of Jamie Oliver, fellow TV chef, Gino D’Acampo, revealed he was expanding his own chain of Italian restaurants as recently as last month, showing that opportunity is there for the right business.

Of course, as established chains expand and new, exciting brands emerge, it creates more competition, which can prove devastating if not acted upon.

Do you know if you are ahead of your competition?

Improving Your Online Presence & Driving Footfall

The hospitality sector is jam-packed with big brands and smaller businesses all competing for footfall and trade. If your online reputation isn’t up-to-scratch, it’s time to change this. After all, ask yourself how often do you search online for a product or service before deciding to buy? If you are, so, too, are your potential customers.

In the restaurant sector specifically, as many as 60% of customers read reviews before going out for a meal at a restaurant they haven’t visited before. If you’re not showcasing your excellent customer service and food and drink, chances are high your competitors are.