Beacon, Britain’s leading purchasing company, which represents 2000 hospitality businesses in the UK, is urging drink-led establishments to adapt their offering to thrive.
This is following insight from leading Beacon supplier, AB InBev, showing that 21,000 drink led venues have closed in the last 10 years, whilst 8,000 food focused outlets have opened in the past five, showing how the landscape of hospitality is continuing to change with customer demand.
Working with two of Beacon’s suppliers, AB InBev and KP Snacks, Kelley Walker, Purchasing Manager at Beacon, offered her advice:
“We’ve seen this trend developing over time, where occasions in the drinks industry have shifted from just drinks with friends, to more of an experience that involves drinks and food of some sort. As these figures from AB InBev show, operators that don’t have a food offering should now, more than ever, consider it, in order to succeed in what is an ever-challenging market.”
“Beer and food pairings
A trend that we’ve seen dominate the food and drink markets recently is beer and food pairings. Just as you would match a wine with certain dishes on your menu, the same can be done with various beers styles and flavours to drive sales across both categories. If you’re considering introducing a food offering in your business, start with snacks or dishes that match well with some of your most popular beers and communicate this with customers to upsell. If you’re unsure, we’d recommend speaking with your supplier, as most breweries will be able to advise on this, or initiatives such as There’s a Beer For That are a great source of information.
A food offering doesn’t have to mean an extensive menu with varied dishes. One simple way to enhance your offering at the bar is by introducing a snack menu. Consumer research from KP Snacks has shown that on average, 50% of customers will look to purchase a snack when visiting a pub or bar. An effective way of managing your snack offering is to implement a core range of “champion” products that consistently perform well, whilst regularly introducing more premium and niche products for variety. This provides the flexibility to experiment with more adventurous trends and flavours, whilst testing their performance amongst your target market.
“Craft isn’t just for beer
AB InBev identifies the continuous rise of craft beer, which has successfully brought a previously niche category to the masses. The craft beer phenomenon is known across the industry, but we are now seeing this translate into other categories, including food. The term ‘craft’ in itself is becoming widely recognised among consumers who want products that are adventurous and have a story to tell. For operators that have an existing craft drinks range, I would recommend introducing two or three food items that are from independent suppliers, and regularly rotating these to complement the drinks menu.”
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