You might be forgiven for thinking that leisure and hospitality in London and other strong regional markets might find it difficult in the historically quieter month of January. However, for those who can read the underlying market trends and capitalise are having a field day, using January to implement something new, or expand a concept that showed promise in 2017.
Here we look at some of the movers and shakers taking advantage of consumers’ new year’s resolutions, driving forward the trends that will dominate for the rest of the year.
In the same month that Iqbal Wahhab, founder of the Cinnamon Club in Westminister and Roast in Borough Market has announced his newest meat-focused restaurant opening, Attiocus, in Angel, a great number of operators are turning to vegetables. With 542,000 vegans in the UK (according to the Vegan Society)—three times more than there were a decade ago, with half of those between 15 and 34—this is understandable.
Powered by diners’ desire to overcome their festive meat hangovers and lead more sustainable lives, restaurants like Ottolenghi are expanding their business to their biggest outlet yet in London’s Fitzrovia, with a majour emphasis on veg. The venue will feature a menu “focused on vegetables and on produce brought directly from selected, outstanding farmers”.
Finally, vegan lifestyle brand Farmacy has announced it is bringing a pop-up shot bar to Selfridges as part of the department store’s #EatHappy campaign.
Backed up by so-called Veganuary, the charity that is campaigning to get more people to follow a plant-based diet for the month of January, restaurants like Rosa’s Thai, Wagamama, Comptoir Libanais and YO! Sushi have all launched vegan dishes. Even meat-focused concept Gillray’s Steakhouse is offering a three-course vegan menu throughout January.
According to a YouGov poll, 3.1 million people in the UK are planning on taking part in Dry January this year. Body image and health-conscious consumers are taking active steps—now more than ever—to reduce their alcohol consumption.
In a similar vein to Veganuary, Dry January spurs those in the food business to capitalise on people’s thirst for a healthy option.
Diageo’s recently acquired Seedlip is teaming up with Michelin-starred seafood restaurant Angler to host a non-alcoholic pairing menu. The deal demonstrates that market demand for alcohol-free beverages is bourgeoning. This event will take place on 9th January, and will feature three courses each paired with a Seedlip cocktail. In addition, Seedlip are giving away 500 free mocktails at distinguished bars around London throughout the month.
Zero waste, unlimited opportunities
2017 saw a palpable rise in the public’s negative attitudes toward wastefulness, a feeling catalyzed by the programme Blue Planet II, which aired at the end of the year in the UK.
As such, the start of 2018 sees Pret a Manger double their discount to 50p on the price of a hot drink for those who use a recyclable cup. The aim is to change customer behavior and reduce waste—especially given that paper cups are, historically, highly unrecyclable. Again, this is something the chain is looking to change.
Outside of hospitality, retailers are also pursuing this agenda. Examples include the high-street fashion brand H&M, who have launched their first ever active wear collection made from sustainable and recycled materials, to keep up with an environmentally conscious audience.
According to CADA’s Associate Director, Dan Higgott, the shift in attitudes toward more sustainable living is being driven predominantly by a younger generation of consumer: “In addition to adopting a more healthy attitude to what they eat and drink, Generation Z consumers—those under 20 years of age—are also increasingly focused on sustainable living, and use the advent of the New Year to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.”
In other words, leisure and hospitality businesses need to care not just about where their product comes from, but also about how it is presented to the consumer.
Dan continues: “Retailers who offer their products in reduced, recyclable or, best of all, no packaging, are well placed to appeal to these younger consumers who will exert increasing influence and spending power over the retail landscape in the coming years.”
East London has been at the forefront of trends in the retail, leisure and hospitality industries for 20 years. Dan believes that it’s a great example of how businesses can breed success from consumers’ new attitudes: “This trend is in evidence in Dalston, East London, with the recent openings of Bulk Market, a ‘zero waste’ store selling unpackaged food produce by weight, and Weino BIB, a wine merchant selling wine in reusable bags, and directly to the bottle from 20 wine barrel vanities.”
CADA Design has a wealth of experience consulting on the brand, operational practices and builds of successful leisure and hospitality ventures over the last 25 years. If you would like to speak with us about how we can transform your concept into a sustainable business for 2018 and beyond. Get in touch.