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Summer dining trends

Diners change their mind just as often as the seasons change, making it difficult for operators to stay ahead of the competition. To help you keep customers happy all summer long we’ve narrowed down the trends we’ll be seeing while the suns out.

Too sophisticated for beer
This summer the drink of choice will be wine as trends suggest a shift away from the consumption of beer and see consumer’s lean towards a more sophisticated experience. Recent research by CGA Peach revealed the number of licensed cafes and wine bars on high streets has risen by 5.9% in the past three years. The move away from beer is also supported by the stabilisation of the craft beer industry which has previously enjoyed years of growth. In 2016 just 60 new breweries were opened compared to the 100-plus openings recorded each year from 2010 to 2015. Last year also saw the closure of 58 breweries, highlighting the slowing of the industry and the change in consumer trends.

English pubs charm operators
These days it’s more common to hear about the closure of British pubs rather than new pub openings, however in the past month alone two operators have expressed their interest in launching pub concepts. Steakhouse brand, Gaucho, who also operates sister chain CAU has begun looking for pubs and character buildings in the home counties, including locations in Oxfordshire, West Berkshire, Hampshire and Buckinghamshire. Gaucho revealed their pub fascination has come from wanting to combine the finest quality beef with the picturesque ideals of the country pub. Another operator exploring pub opportunities is Honest Burgers, who operates 21 restaurants across the UK. They hope to open an additional ten sites by the end of the year and are considering further expansion by launching a pub variant of the burger concept.

Burgers remain popular
Over the past few years’ burger concepts have reaped the rewards of dining trends and have been able to enjoy growth and expansion thanks to consumers love of burgers.  Burger popularity in the UK dining market has given American brands, including Five Guys and SmashBurger, the opportunity to launch in the UK and allowed existing UK concepts, like Prime Burger and Handmade Burger Co, to expand their offerings. Trends show no signs of slowing this summer as consumers continue enjoying burgers and burger brands continue to emerge. Recently US burger franchise, The Counter, revealed their plan to open 20-25 UK sites over the next five years, only strengthening the UK burger scene.

Farm fresh meals
Diners are becoming more and more conscious of the food they consume, including where ingredients are sourced from. Restaurants should be placing an emphasis on sourcing ingredients locally as consumers want to support British producers and farmers. The trend towards locally sourced is also supported by the association consumers make between local produce and the greater freshness of ingredients. For restaurants and pubs who already source ingredients locally make sure your customers know, include details on the menu or specials board and ensure wait staff can answer any questions customers may have. Some restaurants have gone a step further by growing their own produce, including Michelin-starred Fera where they grow herbs on a roof garden to ensure only the freshest ingredients are used.