Travel bans, restrictions and changing quarantine risks associated by coronavirus means that less of us are going to be packing our bags for a far-flung exotic overseas holiday. Just this weekend, overnight, the government imposed a two-week quarantine for all those returning to Spain. So, is it fair to assume that more of us will holiday at home this year?
A survey recently conducted by City Suites showed a fairly even split in those wanting to holiday abroad and those that are happy to stay put for a ‘staycation’.
- 24.9% say they’d prefer to holiday in the UK until a vaccine is found
- 24.7% want to jet off abroad as soon as they can
- 17.76% prefer staycations anyway, regardless of the pandemic
- But, 21.28% don’t want to holiday this year either in the UK or abroad and plan to stay at home more. A quarter of respondents claiming this were aged over 55.
This could be seen as fairly bleak reading, but there are glimmers of hope. At the end of June the Standard newspaper reported that once the Prime Minister made his announcement to relax rules and allow overnight stays, there was an influx of Brits booking a staycation holiday. At it’s peak, one such trip was being booked every 8 seconds. Whilst this may well have now levelled out, it’s fair to say that more day-trips will be made and more home-stay holidays will be had.
Additional evidence to support this can be found looking at Keyword Finder. Searches for the term ‘Holidays in the UK’ peaked in March this year just after official lockdown and once again during May after the government started to ease the rules. Searches for ‘Staycation’ are also on the rise with more searches made each month for UK staycations than ever before. Before Coronavirus, the average number of searches (per month) in the UK for ‘staycation’ was 6,600. During March and April this rose to a staggering 8,100 searches (+23%).
How can operators make the most of the Staycations market?
According to MCA an overwhelming number of consumers (94%) who have visited pubs, restaurants and bars in England in the two weeks since reopening were satisifed with the safety steps taken by the venues they visited. Reassuringly, 96% are likely to recommend a visit to family and friends.
But, despite the foodservice industry responding phenomenally well in this post-lockdown world, consumers will need constant reassurance to keep returning to pubs, bars and restaurants.
Extend the outdoor space: as the potential for indoor seating likely to have significantly declined, this may help to claw back the total number of covers you can now serve. Whilst consumers make a tentative return, many prefer the option of alfresco dining so if you have the space available – make the most of it.
Make people feel welcome – and safe: For some, it will be the first time they have eaten out for over 4 months so naturally, they may have some hesitation. Help this along by:
- More visible cleaning
- Installing hand sanitising stations at entry / exit points
- A one-way system (if possible) with single entry and exit points
- Disposable menus
- Seating at a safe distance
- Meet and greet areas to take people straight to their table and prevent anyone wandering around
- Encourage at-table ordering. There are now ‘off the shelf’ apps that you could use like QR Code Generator or Chooice
- Encourage contactless payment
Communicate, communicate, communicate:
- Reassure customers and potential customers of the measures you have in place.
- Regularly update your social media channels with interesting content including new dishes.
- Create a newsletter or diners club to offer special, targeted discounts and offers
- Sign up to the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
Adapting Menus in the new normal
Make your menu interesting: whether it’s using seasonal ingredients (which are often much cheaper), locally grown or extending your favourites. Focus on best-sellers that you know are likely to appeal.
Bring out the burgers …
Pre-Covid, a burger remained the most popular dish for dinner so create a menu mixed with classics and something a little more exotic. Remember that the dish is likely to have to physically travel further (from the kitchen to an outdoor space) so make sure the dish remains robust. A great way to do this is to use a sturdy base like a gourmet brioche. Or for a ‘one-box-ticks-all’ something like Kara’s Vegan Brioche is ideal for both meat or meat-free menus.
One ingredient … multiple dishes
These are challenging times so it makes sense to contract menus. But, in order to make the menu interesting there are some clever ways that you can cut down on the ingredients that are bought-in but still offer a good selection of dishes. Head over to our recipes page for some ideas which include:
As well as being a great burger carrier, did you know that a gourmet brioche also makes a great sweet burger too?
Kara are foodservice bakers that make wholesale frozen sweet and savoury bakery for out-of-home catering establishments like restaurants, bars, pubs, hotels, en-route as well as the likes of education and contract catering.