Food delivery businesses such as Deliveroo, Just Eat and UberEats have had a major impact on the restaurant sector with takeaway sales increasing by 54% on average.
That accounts for up to 25% of the total spend for some customers, according to the annual survey of the Food Service Management (FSM) industry conducted by the British Hospitality Association (BHA).
Restaurants using customer loyalty schemes were shown to have better customer retention rates and increased sales. Data from Como, a company specialising in improving customer engagement and loyalty for businesses, suggested customers registered to a loyalty scheme spend around 25% more.
The FSM market report for 2016 also highlighted how consumer eating habits have changed in recent years. It predicts the demand for ‘flexible service times' will increase as the traditional lunch hour becomes a thing of the past, with people opting to graze throughout the day instead. Meals tailored to the customers' liking are also predicted to rise as more companies provide a ‘have it your way' service.
According to the survey, which was conducted on the cusp of the EU referendum, all responding companies expect to see their revenues increase over the next few years. Nearly a third of businesses said they anticipate turnover to increase by 20% or more.
Ruston Toms, sales director and co-founder of contract caterer Blue Apple, said: "When this survey was completed the economic recovery and business growth forecasts seemed to be on track and the mood was optimistic. However, Brexit threw a spanner in the works."
He said growth predictions made in Q1 may now have to be ‘tempered' somewhat until the full impact of Brexit has played out.
When asked what would be most likely to influence business performance in the next year, survey respondents cited technology (64%), economic conditions (53%) and staff recruitment (47%) as the top three factors.
Catherine Roe, CEO of Elior, said: "The rapid development of digital and technological innovation will be transformational in the hospitality world over the coming years.
"Great food and service will always be a core requirement, but the way it is delivered, paid for, made available and accessed will change markedly."
Immigration policies restricting access to the EU labour market and the impact of the National Living Wage were seen as some of the main risks to successful performance.
The report also showed foodservice businesses have continued to voluntarily provide investment in health and nutrition. Companies have been playing their part in helping to address the obesity levels in the UK by cutting salt, sugar and fat, as well as increasing the fruit and vegetable content of dishes.
Key health and nutrition report findings:
• 100% of FSM companies are providing healthier alternatives with lower calorie options and including more fruit and vegetables in their menus
• More than 80% of FSM companies signed up to the Public Health Responsibility Deal
• 67% are using sustainable sourced palm oil ingredients
• More than half of all FSMs have reduced the amount of meat on offer. Of the meat they serve, between 50%-85% is sourced from the UK
• 73% have a comprehensive food waste action plan in place to reduce waste
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