For many, Christmas is a time for socialising and celebrating with loved ones, which often leads to a very busy period for the hospitality industry. Visits to restaurants and pubs are a popular way for people to catch up with those closest to them, exchange gifts and celebrate the festive season.
However, with the cost-of-living crisis being an ever-present worry for households across the UK, many hospitality businesses are preparing for a quieter Christmas period. It’s been suggested that many people will be choosing to celebrate at home this year, reducing footfall and spending in pubs and restaurants.
According to a recent survey from RSM UK, 41% of consumers are planning on cutting back on socialising this Christmas and a report from VoucherCodes shows that almost half of consumers are looking to cut back on visits to pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes because of price rises. As a result, the number of people visiting hospitality venues is expected to fall by 4.5%.
As an alternative way of celebrating, it seems that many people will be hosting their friends and family at home this year. According to a report from Tesco, a third of 25- to 34-year-olds are planning to host parties in their living rooms, which is a 10% increase on last year. And evidence shows that the money they save by not going out, will be spent on Christmas dinners and food and drink at home.
While this can be seen as a loss for the hospitality industry, there are alternative avenues to still make profit and cater to consumers who are looking to save money. One option is for restaurant owners to sell ‘at home’ boxes where customers can purchase the ingredients to make their favourite restaurant meals at home. We saw this trend grow during the Covid-19 pandemic, when chefs turned to ‘grocerants’ to allow customers to enjoy their food from home. Turning to takeaway food is also an opportunity, which will allow consumers to host at home with minimal food preparation.
However, despite less people planning to visit hospitality venues this festive season, it’s still predicted that venues will see a £12 billion boost from those who do decide to go out to celebrate. A VoucherCodes report revealed that 40.1 million people will visit a hospitality venue and they can capitalise on this by offering money-saving incentives such as set menus, happy hours and festive specials.
One type of venue that is set to do well this year is Christmas markets, with 30% of consumers, equating to 13.8 million people, planning to visit a Christmas market. Hospitality venues could also see this as an opportunity, taking up stalls at local markets selling ready-to-eat food or ‘at home’ boxes.
So, with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, the hospitality industry is certainly going to have to adapt to keep up profits this year. Do you own a pub or restaurant and are looking at alternative Christmas plans? If so, we’d love to hear how you’re preparing and what you’ll be offering!