The F&B Sector: Consumers Trends You Should Watch

Google “how technology has changed our lives” and you will receive a long list of results. That probably does not come as a surprise. There are plenty of observations how our behaviour has evolved from the past. From less than 1% in 1995 to 40% of the population coming online in 2016, it is definitely something for restaurateurs to watch out for. Charlotte Sutton, Google’s restaurant industry manager, brought up the importance for F&B businesses to understand what their audience wants, reach out to them and provide them with relevant information. Consumer trends should be a factor to consider when a restaurant plans its strategies.   

First Impression Counts

Do not undermine the importance of creating a beautiful online platform to showcase your menu. Technology has initiated a wave of change - most of the consumers have moved online and they can interact with restaurants through various platforms that did not exist back then. At a digital marketing event for restaurants held by Google UK, it was revealed that   ⅓ of the restaurant sales are driven by online research.

1/3 of restaurant sales driven by online research

1/3 of restaurant sales driven by online research

Out of this segment, 28% of consumers tend to use their phones to research and make decisions in less than an hour before the meal time. You need to make sure that your website and menu will leave an unforgettable impression that attracts and captures these customers’ attention.

It has to be a feast for tummy AND eyes

Social media platforms are one of the biggest technology evolution. The number of active users on these platforms is appalling. There are way too many social media platforms for consumers to share what they see, what they eat, what they buy and every little nitty-gritty details in their life. That includes pictures of your food. 

Leading social networks worldwide as of April 2016, ranked by number of active users (in millions) - Statista, 2016

Leading social networks worldwide as of April 2016, ranked by number of active users (in millions) - Statista, 2016

While it is important to be consistent in producing food with excellent quality, it is also important to wow your customers the moment you serve your dish. Stand out from rest of the F&B businesses by having unique renovations, concepts and focus on the food presentation. A good example would be the latest Japanese cartoon character - Gudetama cafe that has attracted tons of visitors. Everything in the shop, including the presentation of food, is inspired by this adorable cartoon. If you do it well, it could potentially go viral.

Utilise the presence of technology

With so many different apps and systems in place, the restaurant industry has changed drastically in its operations. Consumers hardly need to make a reservation through a phone anymore. Waiters have replaced their pens and paper with Ipad point of sale systems due to inefficiency. Soon after, owners also replaced their waiters with Ipads because customers are familiar with the technology and it was a way to cut down labour cost. Online ordering systems are also introduced to give customers the privilege of enjoying food at home. Embrace them, create an online presence and keep up with the trends. With Google’s quest to bring the Internet to the next billion people, the number of people that are going to have the opportunity to engage technology will only increase.

Understanding how technology has affected consumers’ behaviour can help you to understand the ways you can tap into technology to create an online relationship with customers. This is potentially useful because as we all know, online food ordering is the next big thing.