BY ROSS CARTER
PORTFOLIO DIRECTOR, HOTELYMPIA
Ever wondered how long it takes before diners become distraught when waiting for a bill? Or how they prefer that bill to be settled? What about the desired information a menu should carry? Should the perfect menu be leather-bound or a simple one-pager, printed daily? With a reported resurgence in fine dining, are traditional white tablecloths still preferable to an industrial wood and metal setting? Does artwork really matter? And do front-of-house uniforms really make any difference to people’s purchasing habits?
Hotelympia has uncovered the answers to these considerations, and a host of other key consumer insights, to unveil The Ultimate Dining Experience – 2018’s most comprehensive dive into the needs of modern consumers.
With the results now in, not only will restauranteurs be able to claim their free copy of the full report at the show from 5-8 March at London’s ExCeL, Hotelympia is also working with property-based design, project management and development company LXA (Wagamama, BXR Gym, Grand Hyatt) to bring the results to life in a highly unique standalone feature.
Chefs may be moving away from them in favour of return to the days of á la carte, but the report finds that many foodies are still hungry for the adventure and experience of fine dining tasting menus. When it comes to the environment in which that experience plays out, however, diners are decidedly nonplussed with haute cuisine-style cutlery and formal surroundings, favouring industrial chic and unfussy placements.
Woe betide any outlet that employs canteen-style seating or loud music to woo diners, while overly familiar service staff, hard-and-fast themes and stark lighting are definite turn-offs.
Polled on the most important factors when choosing a restaurant, diners placed ‘cost’ at a surprising fifth, with ‘quality of food’, ‘service’, ‘atmosphere’ and ‘reputation’, proving more popular considerations. Diners may crave casual surrounds but, when it comes to waiting staff, smart dress is almost 40% more popular than more casual attire.
When it comes to vital information listed on menus, price unsurprisingly comes out on top (96%) but detailed ingredients (47%) and provenance (45%) finish second and third, respectively, hitting home the importance of sourcing and transparency of the supply chain.
At the very outset of a meal some 64% of diners like to be handed a paper menu, printed with the day’s date. Traditional leather-style menus rank a lowly second at 24%, at its close, 27% of diners confide that they would become impatient after just four minutes of waiting for the bill, while 42% would be willing to wait between five and ten minutes before becoming dismayed.
Hotelympia’s Ultimate Dining Experience will combine insight and innovation to great effect, offering show visitors a true tangible taste of what diners demand when eating out of home. With the irresistible rise of delivery companies taking share and spend from ‘experience’ dining – now, more than ever, operators need to tap into the consumer mindset to understand the often-subtle cues that keep people coming back for more. I’m confident that the insights we have uncovered will help Hotelympia visitors drive their businesses forward and urge people to pick up their copy of the report at the show.
Hotelympia will take place in London from 5–8 March. Visitors are urged to pre-register today on Hotelympia’s website.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020