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Spring dining trends

It may not feel quite like spring, but sunnier weather is on its way and consumers are already adjusting their eating habits. In the lead up to summer there’s a few key dining trends affecting the industry, so to help you keep track we’ve detailed the key points below.

Delivery is crucial
The traditional takeaway meal no longer exists as more and more people expect the option to have their favourite restaurant dishes home delivered. The abundance of high quality restaurants and quirky eateries means we are no longer satisfied with eating greasy fish and chips or fatty pizzas at home. Restaurants may see delivery as a headache with further costs involved but offering delivery service as well as an eat in dining room is a crucial element of the current restaurant market. Companies, such as Deliveroo and UberEats, are making it easier for restaurants to offer delivery service whilst still focusing on the customers who are dining in. The popularity of both these services highlights the importance of delivery. Restaurants, such as Five Guys, Nando’s or Prezzo, who years ago would never have considered offering delivery are now continuing to expand their offering across the UK. Offering a delivery service is an important way to compliment the dining in experience, especially for those people who just can’t make it out the house but still want to enjoy the restaurant quality food you have to offer. In the coming months we’ll be sure to see more restaurants roll out their delivery service or at least recognise its significance.

Seafood gains popularity
As we move away from the cold weather consumers will starting moving away from Winter comfort foods and towards lighter fresher foods, including seafood. In the past month alone, three seafood restaurants have announced their launch or intention to expand. Modelled on the surf shacks of Florida and California, Seafood Shack is one of the seafood concepts recently announcing their first restaurant. The brand has secured a site in Cardiff with plans to open in April, they are also lining up sites in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Edinburgh. Another seafood restaurant sharing the launch excitement is Blue Lobster, opening in Cheshire Village, Alderley Edge. Blue Lobster will open in early April as an upmarket Italian seafood restaurant with a 50 cover dining area and additional bar. sMeanwhile Seafood Pub Company revealed their first Yorkshire site with a location in Harrogate. The company currently has 10 sites across the Lancashire area and hopes to continue expanding over the next 12 months. The demand for seafood is quickly being met as consumer’s expect more than the standard pub fish and chips.

Coffee connoisseurs
You’re never far away from high quality coffee these days, whether it be from the regular coffee chain on the corner of the high street or the newest café to open in the town centre. Because there’s no shortage of places to grab a cup of joe we’ve become pickier with the coffee we choose to drink. A recent poll by Allegra World Coffee Portal revealed that 44% of customers would be reluctant to return to a pub which served poor quality coffee. Of those polled another 41% said they would buy coffee in pubs more often if the quality was better. At a time when pubs are struggling to grow profits and retain customers a seemingly trivial aspect such as coffee is important to operators. Although many pubs are doing coffee well, there is significant room for improvement and the recent research will see pubs expanding their coffee offerings in a bid to attract and retain business. Another key finding of the survey revealed that over a quarter of consumers would visit a pub or bar for their morning coffee, if they opened earlier, rather than a high street store. Now that consumers have voiced their coffee preferences we are likely to see a change in the way pubs approach coffee, a change we definitely welcome. 

More cheese please
We’re no longer worried about our cholesterol levels as we look for more ways to indulge in cheese and operators are definitely taking advantage. One such operator, Matthew Carver, has taken the opportunity to upgrade from food truck status to permanent restaurant. Carver has been selling cheese toasties out of the Cheese Truck for over three years and has now found a permanent site in Camden Stables. Being reborn as the Cheese Bar, the team will continue to focus solely on toasties with creations such as a Mexican/fondue creation named the Queso Fundido, or Breakfast Poutine, with bacon gravy, candied pancetta, a fried egg and cheese curds. Another brand benefitting from the latest cheese trend is award winning cheese shop and café concept, La Fromagerie. Based in central London, the company currently has two locations and have not opened a site since November 2002. They have now secured a third site, close to the British Museum, for an opening this year. Get ready to see more cheese inspired openings popping up across London, as well as more cheese based dishes on menus as we enter spring.