New research from CGA has revealed subtle but significant changes in consumer behaviour when finding and engaging with drinks brands and venues.
The deep on-premise user survey sought the opinions of around 3000 consumers in Australia and revealed that more than two in five (43%) are more likely to plan their hospitality visits in detail than they did before COVID-19. This has created a surge in reservations, with half (51%) and a third (32%) of consumers now more likely to pre-book tables for food and drink respectively.
Safety-conscious people have also turned to apps and other digital solutions to reduce contact, and a third (34%) of all consumers now say they prefer to use technology to order and pay—though the majority (66%) still like to interact with staff. It has created a three-way split in the way people want to order—between table service (42%), at the bar (30%) and via a phone or tablet (23%).
Another growing divide is appearing between those wanting premium experiences after so long in lockdown, and those who have been financially hit and are now seeking value. Just over half (55%) of consumers now think value for money is an important factor in their choice of where to eat or drink out—almost exactly the same number who say the same about the quality of food (54%).
These COVID-19-related changes in consumer behaviour give suppliers and operators new points at which to influence people’s buying decisions. With CGA’s research showing that nearly half (47%) only decide what to drink when they step foot in a venue, and nearly as many (44%) seeking to experiment with new drinks, there is clear potential for brands and operators to encourage trial.
“As Australia’s on-premise settles into a new normal, there are some great opportunities to intervene on people’s paths to purchase,” said Graeme Loudon, CGA’s managing director, EMEA & APAC.
“Increases in pre-visit research and app-based ordering have created a new digital battleground for visibility and influence, while polarisation in finances is altering brand choices. In both these dynamics, striking the right balance is key—between traditional and digital styles of service, and between premium and value offers. Suppliers and operators who can work together to stay on top of consumers’ fast-changing needs, and respond with the right digital offer and appropriate range, will be well placed to grow in 2022.”
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Pictured main: Opera Bar is part of hospitality group Solotel, which is predicting that this summer will be its best in years, after 107 days of lockdown and the state closing in on its 90% double vaccination target, Sydneysiders are keen to celebrate.