Australian mobile ordering and payment platform me&u has revealed the trends it sees shaping the hospitality industry post-COVID-19.
Over the last 16 months, me&u has been working closely with hundreds venues around Australia, including Merivale, Rockpool Group, Solotel Group, The Portsea Hotel and Howard Smith Wharves. It’s taken a deep dive into their extensive data to reveal the trends shaping the industry, as well as learnings and strategies that businesses can implement so they are ready to bounce back.
As Merivale’s Justin Hemmes recently noted, hospitality is “on its knees” as it has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic. While operators hope rising vaccination numbers will allow restrictions to ease, advances in contactless tech will set venues up for a more efficient and profitable future.
Stevan Premutico (above), me&u CEO and Founder, said: “We’ve had our fair share of knocks and blows, especially right now, but the numbers prove that Aussies have come out in droves to support their local venues over the past year and we are optimistic about what the future holds. Hope binds the industry more than anything else and we see a future of full venues, appetites and hearts shaped by the incredibly resilient people of hospitality. It’s time to work smarter, not harder.”
The 10 hospitality trends to watch
- Australians are desperate to be social. When Victoria’s last lockdown ended, hospitality spending in Australia soared by 28%. In fact, between 10pm and 11pm alone venues recorded three times the number of orders compared to pre-lockdown levels. That’s despite venues being capped at a maximum of 50 people (and limited to seated service only).
- When NSW restrictions eased in June 2020, Friday nights were replaced by Saturdays as the busiest day of trade and Sundays are seeing an increase in sales as customers stick closer to home to drink and dine at their local spots. me&u says this means boozy brunches, long Sunday lunches and after-dark weekend drinks are where businesses should be focusing their attention.
- There is a renewed love for the local pub and Australia’s favourite watering holes have seen a 14% growth in sales since April 2020. Australians are sticking closer to home, with suburban pubs seeing a big spike in pints, pups and parmies.
- There’s plenty of spirit still flowing through hospitality venues with a massive 400% rise in spirit orders from March 2020 to March 2021. At the top of this exponential growth are Vodka, Rum and Whiskey, with Vodka and Gin doubling in demand over the past year. Cocktails have also scored a boost, making up close to 20% of all drinks ordered on me&u (a sharp increase from pre-COVID levels).
- More Aussies are opting to treat themselves to the finer things in life post-lockdown with a big shift towards premiumisation. 70% of vodka orders made through me&u request a premium brand like Grey Goose or Belvedere and venues are seeing the same trend with Sydney’s Golden Sheaf seeing almost 1 in 3 of all gin orders ditching the house spirit for a top shelf brand.
- Customers are looking for ways to show their appreciation for hospitality workers and me&u gives customers the tools to give back in just a few easy taps. The Belvedere Hotel in Queensland has seen a 50% growth in tips across the business since implementing the platform.
- While borders remain shut, hospitality operators are feeling the pinch for staff in their venues. Operators are shifting their focus to working smarter and tech is helping teams streamline time-consuming processes like ordering and payments to give them more time to focus on delivering great service and top-notch hospitality.
- With QR codes and mobile check-ins the new normal, Aussies have made the switch to cashless payments for good. Customers are craving seamless experiences that keep the drinks flowing and spirits high without having to queue at the bar and because of this customers that order through the me&u app are spending 27.5% more. At Solotel Group they are seeing 30% higher sales on me&u transactions compared to non-me&u transactions.
- Operators are redesigning their spaces and workflows to better serve Australians and a restructured sequence of service is all it takes to cut down order times from 10 minutes to just three minutes. me&u partnered with Brisbane’s Howard Smith Wharves (HSW) to boost spend by 11% and increase repeat orders at their venues by 3 points.
- me&u has seen a 643% uplift in venues adding the platform to their tables year on year, highlighting that operators are embracing technology as the way of the future for the industry.