FUTURE CONSUMERS – A LOOK AT THE OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD
For those hospitality businesses able to survive the impact of Covid-19, or for any new business, it is vital to look to longer term future trends to inform today’s decisions; beyond social distancing. So what societal shifts in attitude are inbound across hospitality, technology, sustainability, food & drink & design?
With increased insecurity over time, from the lasting impact of the financial crisis of 2008, to climate change, and now the Covid-19 pandemic, the real pandemic affecting Millenials and Gen-Z in particular is in fact anxiety. Society has also shifted away from the 9-5, now moving at such a pace that people feel they're struggling to keep up. Technology designed to simplify and stabilise our lives has ironically often added to the burnout - adding more targets and expectations. With change comes reaction, so how can you bridge that gap?
SHINING LIGHT INTO DARKNESS
The antithesis to fear and anxiety is to shed light into the darkness. To provide an open and honest window into your business. So what does this look like? Visible kitchens in restaurants, bringing your people to the fore, for example knowing and seeing who will prepare your food is reassuring. Think traceability in food, but also in furniture, the material menus & business cards are printed on etc. People will increasingly want to know where something was sourced and how ethical it is, stories that shine a light into the darkness & aid connection.
SOMETHING GOING ON IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
As people work more flexibly, expect a increase in neighbourhood venues that accommodate people working without the commute on laptops, having meetings, eating lunch. Space needs to be adaptable, a space where someone could be working and later joined by friends or family for dinner or a few drinks before taking a class or listening to a talk. Membership or not. Chefs sharing space also strengthens neighbourhoods, for example cafe by day, fine dining by night.
When everything seems under threat, people seek to protect and support their local communities, in simple ways and schemes too such as creating circular economies to keep local money local, or pooling resources and creating networks (check out, recomony.org and Transitionnetwork.org). If you’re a chain, adapting to serve the local community in small and large ways will be key from charitable work to menu localisation.
A MOMENT OF CALM
Decision anxiety or overwhelm is at an all time high and people are growing weary of the mental strain of all the tech. Covid-19 is sure to see an increase in automated lives, app / web based ordering bringing with it frustrations of wifi, log-ins and the lack of a human interface. Physical locations will excel where there are simple and easy menu options, ordering processes or on demand service, along with calming environments that can control stressors such as light and noise. Connection to the calming influence of natural finishes and forms will increase but may not be suited to every brand experience.
THE CELEBRATION ECONOMY
Somewhere along the way between gaining social clout, influencers, the media and doing it for the ‘gram we lost the ability to separate truth from fake news and edited lifestyles. We’ve been fed catastrophising. What is wrong or bad in the World has been continually overstated, not what is good. People will seek to push through in spite of the negative to ‘live loud’, go after joyful moments, truthfully connecting with friends and family and spreading the joy and celebration. Humans are social beings. One thing is for sure, Covid-19 will not have the last say on the sharing table and large social gatherings. Hospitality will still need to be multi-sensory, providing space for vital moments of joy, relaxation and escapism. It's just a question of how you survive long enough to stay in the game.
If you'd like to discuss how the accelerating pace of future consumer trends may affect your business get in touch here.