The post-pandemic on-premise consumer

A survey has shown that on-premise consumers now plan their hospitality visits in detail and are turning to technology to support that planning and reduce human interaction in the on-premise space.

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This article was originally posted by Drinks Trade on November 12, 2021.

A survey has shown that on-premise consumers now plan their hospitality visits in detail and are turning to technology to support that planning and reduce human interaction in the on-premise space.

CGA’s On Premise User Survey (OPUS) aggregated the opinions of around 3,000 Australian consumers and found that more than two in five (43 per cent) are more likely to plan their hospitality visits in detail than they did before COVID-19.

Social restrictions and seated dining have meant that pre-planning is a big part of going out and has led to a surge in pre-booked reservations, with half (51 per cent) and a third (32 per cent) of consumers now more likely to pre-book tables for food and drink respectively.

This shift in behaviour as led to huge surges in business for digital hospitality platforms including SevenRooms, The Fork, Mr Yum and me&u which partnered with ALH earlier this year and now operates across all of its 330 venues.

“A new bar has been set and tech is at the heart of it. In a post-COVID world, customers are craving seamless experiences that keep the drinks flowing and spirits high so they’re not constantly getting stuck at the bar,” says me&u CEO Stevan Premutico.

He explains that a contactless order and pay solution enables customers to order from their table, decreases congestion in venue and gives guests greater control over their drinking and dining experience.

CGA found that a third (34 per cent) of all consumers prefer using technology to order and pay, although the majority (66 per cent) still like to interact with staff. It has created a three-way split in the way people want to order—between table service (42 per cent), at the bar (30 per cent) and via a phone or tablet (23 per cent).

The survey also found tht there is a growing divide in consumers between those wanting premium experiences after so long in lockdown, and those who have been financially hit and are now seeking value. Just over half (55 per cent) of consumers now think value for money is an important factor in their choice of where to eat or drink out—almost exactly the same number who say the same about the quality of food (54 per cent).

CGA’s research also showed an almost event split between consumers that decide what to drink when they step foot in a venue (47%) and nearly as many (44%) seeking to experiment with new drinks.

It suggests that these new behaviours are opportunities for suppliers and operators to consider opportunities where they can influence people’s buying decisions, including clear potential for brands and operators to encourage curious consumption.

More than this, users of digital platforms also tend to spend more in venues even with restrictions and capacity caps in place.

Mr Premutico says, “The consistent feedback we get from venue operators using me&u is that the visual experience we’ve created through our smarter menu really makes an impact. Great plates of food or cocktails on our digital menus see higher sales and there’s 30 per cent higher sales on me&u transactions compared to traditional transactions.”

Graeme Loudon, CGA’s managing director, EMEA & APAC agrees that there is plenty of opportunity here for suppliers and venues.

“As Australia’s On Premise settles into a new normal, there are some great opportunities to intervene on people’s paths to purchase,” says Mr Loudon.

“Increases in pre-visit research and app-based ordering have created a new digital battleground for visibility and influence…striking the right balance is key—between traditional and digital styles of service, and between premium and value offers.

“Suppliers and operators who can work together to stay on top of consumers’ fast-changing needs, and respond with the right digital offer and appropriate range, will be well placed to grow in 2022.”

For more information on CGA’s OPUS, email graeme.loudon@cgastrategy.com.

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