ResDiary has analysed data from every booking made through its digital reservation and ordering system in Australia in 2022 to establish the top hospitality trends and changes in consumer behaviour nationally.
ResDiary’s APAC Head of Customer Service and Support Stefan Overzier and his team have mined insights from the data to generate an immersive view into the ever-evolving dining habits and trends of Australians.
These are the trends they believe will shape how Australian restaurants, cafes, bistros, bars, pubs and clubs will succeed and continue to grow in 2023 and beyond.
Small independent venues are on the rise
Independent venues now account for 50% of Australia’s hospitality venues, experiencing a growth surge of 23% in 2022 compared to hospitality groups of two or more venues, which grew by 13% overall.
Independent venues have also proven popular with diners, now accounting for 46% of all bookings in Australia, up from having a 38% share of bookings in January 2022.
Overzier said: “It’s great to see such strong growth of small, independent operators, particularly knowing all the difficulties they have experienced over the past couple of years. It demonstrates how resilient the Australian hospitality industry is and reflects on how diners are welcoming and supporting new local venues.”
Dining solo no longer taboo
While tables of between two to five guests still make up the lion’s share of bookings (on average making up 80% of all bookings) dining solo is becoming increasingly popular.
Tables for one only accounted for 2.6% of all bookings in January 2022, yet this steadily increased to reach a peak of 4.6% by November 2022.
Cancellations on the decline
Cancellation numbers dropped significantly throughout 2022, as people made the most of precious time with loved ones, colleagues, and friends.
ResDiary’s data revealed a whopping 60% decrease in cancellations from their peak in January 2022, hitting their lowest levels for the year in the month of December 2022.
That’s certainly something to celebrate. No-shows are a painful reality for the hospitality industry, but Australian diners are increasingly turning up for their reservations, a habit encouraged by venues requiring credit card deposits to secure the booking, and confirmations sent out via text message or emails.
The hot months for bookings
All the state capitals have unique dining scenes, but in 2022 one stood out above the rest. Sydney truly embraced dining out, with bookings spiking at the beginning of the year. In some months more than twice as many diners in Sydney were heading out each month than in Melbourne, despite the total population only being 5% larger.
Melbourne saw its busiest months in March, August, and November. Sydney’s busiest month? February 2022 with Sydney locking in over 40,300 bookings compared to Melbourne’s 16,300.
Brisbane is also a culinary city to watch with bookings increasing 2.7 times from August to November.
The long lunch is back
No longer happy with being bustled in, and then bustled out of the venue in under 90 minutes, in 2023 diners are predicted to be looking for longer and more leisurely dining experiences, with diners preferring two hours to enjoy their meals.
The 150-minute booking is also climbing in popularity.
The drinks orders on the rise
As for trends in drinks orders, fruit-driven cocktails, draught seltzer, French rose and prosecco are dominating.
“Our most popular cocktail is the “Me Lychee Long Time” – a twist of the classic lychee martini, using lychees and real lychee pulp,” reports Surry Hills’ Dove & Olive publican Chris Deale.
“In general, our sweeter and more fruit driven cocktails are the most requested this season. In fact, when we updated our menu, we added several fruit orientated cocktails like the ‘Strawberry Fields’ to the cocktail list, because of this.
“Our French Rose outsells the other wines by a mile, but is toe to toe with our Prosecco. It seems summertime European wines are in the air this season”
“Over the last year or two, seltzers have hit the market in a big way and proved to be a long term stayer rather than just a summer trend. So popular it’s now not just sold in the can, but also on tap.
“I feel a big factor is the sheer variety available, everything from Peach Ice Tea to Berry to Tropical. Again, like our cocktails, being ‘fruity’ is the popularity driver here.”
“Lastly, we can’t go without looking at the most popular beverage sold, beer,” Deale said.
“Besides the regular tapped classics – 99% of people prefer tapped over bottle or can – we are finding that on our rotating beer taps, the local boutique breweries are what people are after. In fact, with the craft beer crowd, we are finding the more offbeat and unique beers, like our Japanese Sake infused Double IPA from Yulli’s, are what’s currently in trend. People just seem a bit more adventurous at the moment.”
For more predictions and insights from ResDiary, visit their website here.