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Here comes summer

In spite of the fact that the summer months in the UK don’t necessarily bring warmth and glorious sunshine day after day, operators are advised to plan for a shift in consumer expectations at this time of year

So what exactly are people looking for during the summer? Hospitality GEM – one of the UK’s leading experts in Guest Experience Management (GEM) – recently conducted a survey to determine exactly what guests want when eating or drinking outside. Here are the findings:

  • 79% of respondents would increase their dwell time if table service were available outside
  • 48% said that slow or poor service most puts them off from eating outside
  • Lunch is the most popular meal for al fresco dining, with the majority of customers stating they would choose to eat two courses
  • 39% would expect a pub to offer a children’s play area as part of its outdoor experience
  • 32% would like music played through speakers. This is a desire particularly prevalent in those aged 18-35, as they are three times more likely to want music from speakers than those aged 36+ - 39.8% compared to 13.09%
  • Heating, shelter from the wind and garden umbrellas are all expected as basic facilities for a pub with outside eating
  • Operators should consider separate eating areas for smokers and nonsmokers. Survey responses include: “I really hate how smokers think they own the outdoor area - it’s the main reason I don’t eat outdoors.” and “Smokers are the biggest issue with eating outside.”
  • 37% said they would be more inclined to dine al fresco if they could communicate with serving staff via an app on their phone. This figure increases to 45% amongst men, and 53% for the 18-25 age group.

BBQ sizzling burgerBarbecues

“Sizzling barbecue food is an undeniable lure for consumers and a great way to turn traditionally mundane foods into something a little more exciting,” comments Jessica Lalor, Brand Development Manager for Kerrymaid. “The key to a successful barbecue is an interesting range of food on offer, a great range of toppings that can be chosen to suit personal taste and a quick and efficient service.

“Burgers are still a popular trend among consumers and the increased popularity has seen a significant rise in new flavour trends that enhance the traditional burger experience. Chicken remains one of the most popular protein options, but often served with an on-trend US smokehouse flavour profile, as well as a move towards a fusion of sweet and savoury options with a sticky barbecue glazed chicken bringing spice, depth and sweetness to plates.

“Many operators are sticking with what they know, but giving it a modern – and sometimes unexpected – twist, such as authentic peri-peri chicken with tequila for extra flavour. Being aware of these prime poultry, fusion and slow cooked trends is essential for operators looking to keep menus fresh and contemporary and to keep consumers returning again and again.

“Building on these trends, named ingredients such as chipotle and roasted black pepper continue to feature on menu descriptions as a method of creating premium barbecue offerings.”

Ice CreamsIce cream

According to independent research conducted by Kerrymaid into the frozen desserts market, 53% of the 800 million desserts consumed in the UK annually are ice-cream based.

“During the summer months, ice cream is a key offering caterers should have on their menus,” advises Jessica. “Ice-cream sandwiches are making a reappearance with a modern twist, as the traditional wafer is replaced with delicious homemade cookies.

“Ice-cream flavours including avocado, cardamom and bourbon caramel will be favoured by consumers this year, while further flavour inspiration will be taken from popular cocktails such as Margarita – a mix of lime and tequila flavours.”

Ice-cream sundaes remain one of the most popular desserts across multiple channels.

They also represent a prime opportunity to drive afternoon and impulse sales.

It is important to offer a variety of toppings; a wide choice adds an element of excitement to the offering and will appeal to varied personal tastes.

Summer check list

Each season of the year brings with it particular opportunities for operators. Frannie Santos-Mawdsley, Senior Customer Marketing Manager, European Foodservice, Moy Park urges operators to ensure their establishment ticks the following boxes during the summer months:

Don’t forget the veggies

It is estimated that there are three million vegetarians in the UK, with a further 35% of the population identifying themselves as flexitarian and often looking for vegetarian choices on a menu

Harness international flavours

Summer sporting events are an international celebration, so it stands to reason that global flavours will go down well with diners and look great on menus. Cuisines such as Pan Asian, American and Mexican are massively on-trend at the moment

Three spicy bites - sharing is caringSharing is caring

Warm, sunny days dining al fresco (we can but hope) lend themselves perfectly to sociable, sharing food. Offering this more casual style of dining in the form of boards, small plates and bowls, is popular, quick and simple

Shout about it

With increased high street competition, vying for a share of the punters has never been more important for operators across the UK. Holding an event can be a sure-fire way of keeping profits high through the summer, however your celebration will stand and fall on the way in which it is marketed. Social media is a great way of keeping your followers and friends up-to-speed on the latest developments, while savvy point of sale detailing promotional meal and drink deals can also help spread the message far and wide. After all, 75% of buying decisions are made at point of purchase.

Brazilian dishesBrazilian summer

With the Rio Olympics just around the corner, why not think of adding a Brazilian theme to your offer? If you need ideas, have a look at The Brewery’s guide to partying Brazilian style.

A grade-II listed venue on Chiswell Street, London, The Brewery plans to make the most of the Brazilian theme this summer. “Theming gives us greater engagement with our guests, and hosting it around the Olympics in Brazil makes perfect sense,” says Simon Lockwood, Creative Director at The Brewery, which offers private summer party packages during June, July and August. “Our events will be all the things you think of when you picture Rio: cultural, energetic, colourful and full of fun.

“While we cannot guarantee the sunny weather, the one thing we can do is offer our customers a bit of fun and escapism from their day-to-day routines.”

“The summer months see a rise in fruit tea sales as consumers seek a refreshing beverage,” says Isabelle Haynes, Tetley Senior Brand Manager - Out of Home.

“With tea being one of the most cost-effective drinks to prepare out of home, it is a highly profitable opportunity for operators of all types.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly health-conscious and changing their drinking habits, which is particularly noted over the summer period. Tea is preferred to other hot drinks for hydration; during recent years the UK has seen an explosion in the green and fruit & herbal tea sectors, growing at 8.9%, according to latest Nielsen data. This growth has been driven due to the flavour varieties and perceived health benefits, such as naturally caffeine-free fruit and herbal blends.”

For regular tea updates, sign up to Tetley’s monthly newsletter at

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