The hospitality industry is dynamic and constantly evolving. For venue owners seeking to plan their upcoming year in the hospo trade, it is essential to remain updated with the latest hospo trends. Adapting to changes in consumer preferences and expectations, such as the increasing demand for non-alcoholic beverages and the incorporation of novel technologies, can significantly impact the success of your business. To help you stay informed, we have identified several critical hospo trends that are likely to persist throughout 2023.
American influence on bar culture
Australia’s bar culture is thriving, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore global influences. The American bar scene has made a significant impact on the Australian market, as demonstrated by the popularity of craft beers and hard seltzers. Producers are following American trends, introducing new hard seltzer flavors to attract new customer from various bases.
Similarly, as part of the latest hospo trends, venues are adopting American culture, with burgers becoming increasingly popular and tipping becoming more common. It’s expected that we will see more hard seltzer flavors and creative takes on classic American dishes like burgers and fried chicken. The burger industry alone is worth a staggering $9 billion in Australia, with around 12,000 businesses serving up delicious burgers.
Burgers are a significant contributor to the Australian economy, with a market size of $9 billion and close to 12,000 businesses dedicated to their production and sale.
Tap into a growing appetite for craft beer
While beer consumption in Australia has been in steady decline since the 1970s, the recent market growth has been driven by craft beer rather than traditional brews. What began as a small segment of the Australian hospitality market has blossomed into a thriving industry, with an increasing number of craft beer breweries across the country. These regional micro-breweries are attracting younger generations to seek out a unique “local experience.”
The popularity of craft beer indicates a potential long-term generational shift away from traditional beer rather than a passing trend. It is critical for the hospitality industry to tap into these hospo trends and seize the potential for further regional growth and appeal to the younger demographic.
The craft beer industry is worth approximately $150 million annually and is projected to grow by 5% to 10% each year.
The non-alc movement: It’s here to stay
A trend that was once thought of as a passing fad has proven to be a permanent fixture in the industry and is only growing larger. Experts in the field have noticed that younger consumers are increasingly health-conscious when it comes to their drinking habits.
While they still enjoy going out and having a good time, they tend to consume less alcohol and make smarter drinking choices. With a proliferation of new non-alcoholic beverage brands, it’s crucial not to overlook this area.
If you want to avoid leaving a bad impression on your customers, your non-alcoholic offerings should be just as vital as your alcoholic beverages. While NoLo (no or low alcohol) beer and wine have been popular in 2022, we can expect to see NoLo cocktails appearing more frequently on menus in 2023, as they become one of the hottest hospo trends.
By 2025, non-alcoholic beverages are predicted to account for 2% of the Australian alcohol market.
Implementing new service delivery models
Improving efficiency and creating a better work environment is a top priority for venue owners. Fortunately, the hospitality industry is benefiting from the advent of new service delivery models, which are simplifying the process of providing top-notch service. It’s time to leverage your technology to ease the burden on your staff.
By implementing tech solutions such as reservation systems, marketing tools, and point-of-sale integrations, venues can enhance service delivery and make work easier and more efficient for employees.
According to a survey, 45% of Australian customers have indicated a preference for digital payment methods such as smart pay, contactless pay, and QR codes.
Get creative with vegan food
The demand for plant-based food has risen significantly over the past two years, in line with the trend toward more health-conscious choices. Gone are the days when venues could get away with offering only one vegan option (usually a salad and chips with the meat-based protein removed).
Nowadays, it’s crucial to have an extensive selection of vegan-friendly meal choices that cater to various dietary preferences, as it can make or break a venue’s reputation. As a result, chefs are being pushed to flex their creative muscles and develop delectable vegan dishes that will appeal to both vegan and non-vegan customers.
Venues also need to keep waste and over-ordering to a minimum. With new and intriguing meat substitutes hitting the market at a rapid pace, expect to see more plant-based versions of burgers, steaks, and schnitzels in 2023.
Over the past five years, 55% of Australians who have given up meat did so.
Influence and entice with social media
In today’s competitive market, visibility is crucial to the success of your business. Social media offers a powerful tool to attract new customers to your establishment. By sharing high-quality images and videos on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, you can showcase your menu options, fresh produce, friendly staff, and unique selling points.
Not only can you stay on top of trends and grow your audience, but you can also keep customers informed about daily specials, menu changes, and booking availability. While building a strong social presence can be time-consuming, it’s essential for venues to prioritize it to gain increased exposure. If you nailed your Instagram game in 2022, start thinking about how your venue can utilize TikTok in 2023.
72% of customers rely on social media comments and images to make informed decisions when choosing a restaurant.
The gig economy
Many businesses were hit hard by staff shortages in 2022, and the hospitality industry is no exception. The pressure of the job can already be high, so venues must find ways to embrace the gig economy to retain top-quality staff. Promoting work-life balance, protecting the mental health of staff, and providing flexible work arrangements can improve workplace culture and increase staff retention.
A supportive work environment can retain not only staff but also create greater career opportunities within the industry. While this may be easier said than done, it is a critical step towards reducing burnout and staff turnover. In 2023, mental health in the hospitality industry is expected to be a major topic of discussion.
60% of employed Australians consider flexible work arrangements more crucial than career advancement.