15 Nov 2023
The Seasonal Waves: How they impact hospitality and catering
The catering and hospitality industry were some of the hardest hit during the pandemic.
With many businesses on the brink of closure, (and some unfortunately, failing to bounce back at all) a large proportion have shown incredible resilience and adaptability.
Peaks and troughs – so they like to say – is perhaps one of the most accurate descriptions of hospitality and catering business flow. But that doesn’t mean business owners in this sector do not crave the stability and predictability of other industries.
As 2023 is set to be free of restrictions, we’re likely to experience some level of normality, with many comparing demand to that of 2019. Yet, there is still talk of a potentially lower peaks during the quieter months while some are still reluctant to mix with others in small, public places. Thankfully, there are ways to diversify your offering to suit.
In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into what the seasonal factors of 2023 may have in store, and how best to accommodate them to help protect your business from fluctuations and unpredictability.
It’s February which means we’re all geared up for the biggest date night of the year.
‘Date night’ usually consists of a luxury dining experience complete with alcohol, dessert and all of the trimmings, so has enormous business potential for those in hospitality, catering and the hotel industry.
Valentine’s day symbolises luxury and romance, but also a big increase in consumer spending. Fine dining restaurants are said to experience the biggest upsurge, and 7pm is said to be the most popular reservation time.
It’s also been found that millennials are the biggest spenders at this time of year, splurging an average of £41.80 for the special day, but 1 in 5 Brits plan to spend over £100 on a loved one on Valentine’s day.
With all that in mind, it’s pertinent to mention that Valentine’s day does fall on a Tuesday this year. Trade is typically slower at the beginning of the week, so this presents a huge opportunity to leverage footfall across the entire week for restaurateurs, and hoteliers.
We’re not used to seeing that extra footfall at the beginning of the week, so make accommodations where necessary. Additional staff and kitchen resources, plus increased product availability to account for a steady influx of patrons across the week. Suppliers should be on hand to provide additional services across the week too.
Meanwhile, this holiday season presents opportunities to serve customers outside of the premises. Home delivery and takeaways, dine-in-for twos, and gift vouchers. While it’s great to prepare for the extra footfall, there are some diners who might not be able to make it out on a Tuesday night due to work and family commitments, so perhaps extend your offerings and prepare for two busy weekends on either side of the big day.
Easter bank holiday weekend
Food sales across the country see a huge boost around Easter and Christmas. While both holidays symbolise a feast, family time, and gathering around a table over some good food, it’s another incredible business opportunity for the hospitality and catering sector.
Easter weekend presents a four day weekend, across which many Brits will take to their local food establishments, book short breaks away, or head out to enjoy the time off of work.
To manage the extra demand and really take full advantage of the increased footfall, many establishments increase their opening hours, broaden their menu, or diversify their supply chain to accommodate the extra demand.
Staff and resource can present challenges around this time. Being a bank holiday, it can be difficult to incentivise more staff to work extra hours throughout the period. You’ll likely need the extra support but just like Christmas, Easter can be a sacred family holiday. Can staff be given the autonomy to share the shifts between each other equally to suit their personal lives? Or, are rewards and incentives available for giving up Good Friday or Easter Sunday, for example?
Wedding season seems to be back in full swing for 2023. Much of the lucrative industry itself is catching up from cancellations and postponed events during the pandemic. This means we’re set to see another busy wedding season, particularly for hosting venues and catering businesses.
Peak wedding season as we know it occurs between May-October, with the usual surge between the summer months of June, July and August.
There is an added pressure during wedding season to meet the demands of larger parties, and usually couples and families who’ve invested a lot into their big day. Ensuring operators have all of the equipment, support and supplies they need to meet the demand will be a key responsibility of distributors and manufacturers.
There may likely be a need for temporary staff to help accommodate the extra demand, while allowing you to keep your day-day business running as usual, (during the already busy summer months).
School’s out for summer
It’s no surprise that the hospitality and catering industry thrives during the summer.
With the 6 week summer holidays period (usually with the bulk occurring across August in the UK), this is the peak time for business owners to expand their offering and accommodate the steady increase and influx of new customers, including families, children and those who work in the education sector.
The summer holidays are a great opportunity to boost a hospitality or catering business with promotions, offerings and new menus. Business owners need to tap into the increased presence of families and customers as they venture out following a voracious appetite for outdoor socialising.
Gardens and outdoor areas usually become prime real estate for tables and hosting. Bear in mind that some catering businesses may need machinery that is easy to access from an outdoor premise. For example, if an event is hosted in the outdoor area of a venue, can staff easily transport dishes and cutlery to the warewashers with ease? This is a huge factor in user experience.
Business owners and suppliers should also be urged to make use of existing databases and automated tech to reach out to existing customers. Are there seasonal promotions, events or discounts that may be more attractive during times of peak demand?
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of the summer holidays is recruitment. With skills shortages plaguing the sector, finding and retaining staff can put a strain on company culture and productivity. Younger generations value flexibility, and with many moving into new roles or University courses come September, hospitality businesses are pressured with the difficulty of investing in staff who leave once the summer season is over.
Seasonal factors that affect the hospitality industry are a certainty every year. To continue attracting stability depends on an adaptability and willingness to learn from previous years, but also societal and economic circumstances that impact the industry.
But like we said, it’s all peaks and troughs. So what about the quieter months?
Try to form a strategy to attract a steady wave of customers during the quieter ‘non seasonal’ breaks. What incentives can you offer customers for doing business with you during those times? Are there discounts and offers you can promote? Can you use technology to offer birthday incentives to existing customers, or encourage them to refer to other customers, or provide a testimonial?
Diversifying and adapting your strategy is the only way to survive the peaks and troughs of seasonal waves. The UK hospitality and catering industry has recovered from bleak adversity over the last couple of years. Now is the time to future-proof business so we can all maintain some level of stability and predictability (as much as is possible!).
Considering seasonal factors is one way to leverage increased demand for the benefit of the bottom line, but also have contingency plans in place for when things do not go according to plan.
At Classeq, we are passionate about the growth and success of the hospitality sector. That’s why we are committed to providing you with content that explores every juncture of the hospitality journey from the distribution of catering equipment right through to the patron’s plate.
If there is a topic you’d like us to explore further, do let us know. Otherwise, view our full content library here, or speak to a member of the team today
How Valentine’s Day affects the hospitality industry
Easter, Summer, Valentine's Day, Wedding Season