Increasing numbers of operators, including educational institutions, local authorities, healthcare providers and other businesses have outsourced hospitality facilities in order to concentrate on their core business and drive down costs. This has presented huge opportunities for food service providers and contract caterers.
Checking in and out of hotels online, booking tables for restaurants online, more sophisticated vending operations serving hot and cold meals and cutting-edge conference and event facilities within hotels, are all changing the way the industry operates. Many of these innovations are designed to reduce staffing costs, to increase productivity and offer customers a wider and more informed choice. Innovations are appearing constantly and are expected to continue
Polarisation of industry
There has been a definite increase in ‘no-frills’ options and ‘budget brands’, most notably within the hotel and restaurant industries. Hotels are now classed as ‘business’ or ‘leisure’ hotels and there are almost two separate markets for ‘luxury’ and ‘budget’ hotels.
This has also affected the pub industry, with the boom of the ‘gastropub’ and the increase in the number of pubs offering cheaper food options. This also increases competition across the sector, for example pubs are now competing with restaurants and hotels are now competing against conferencing venues and events management companies.
The change in licensing legislation in November 2005, allowing pubs and bars to extend opening hours, was expected to have a large impact on the industry but in reality fewer businesses than expected have increased their opening hours substantially.
A ban on smoking in all enclosed public places came into force in Scotland in March 2006 and was introduced to England and Wales in July 2007. This has and will continue to have an effect on the industry, most noticeably for pubs and bars. Pub food has become more...