MONIN UK reveals consumers’ biggest concerns on returning to OOH venues, together with a digital content campaign to help tackle these challenges

Latest MONIN research unveils consumer attitudes on timings, fears and wishes as lockdown eases, with the brand revealing a strong line up of industry experts to deliver online best

practice ‘revival’ sessions

As the UK makes its first tentative steps into the ‘New Normal’, the announcement that food and drink venues could soon reopen has been met with a mixture of excitement and trepidation by UK consumers.

Whilst many are keen to get back out and start socialising, with almost 53% of consumers stating it’s the element they have missed most in life as result of the industry’s lockdown. The return to this world is matched by concerns,  with 52% of consumers claiming the likely lack of social distancing and overcrowding would still be their biggest worry. 

However, it’s not all doom as gloom in preparing to ‘Save Summer’ as there are steps operators can to take to mitigate some of these concerns and increase customer satisfaction.

According to a survey by MONIN UK, the premium drinks expert, the top three things venues can do to reassure consumers are:

  • Set up antibacterial stations with hand gel readily available (45%)
  • Clearly display protection measures around their venue (35%)
  • Limit time customers can spend in a venue at any one time (29%)

Opening outdoor spaces only (27%) and being focused on staff welfare (19%) complete the top five proactive actions that operators can take to help consumers feel confident

Lee Hyde, Beverage Innovation Manager at MONIN comments: “ The research gives some clear pointers on everyday operational needs to reassure customer bases, but it of course goes deeper than the headlines, which is why we are keen to bring together a range of leaders to share their insights, opinions and tips for the foodservice industry to maximise opportunities.

“It’s great to see that consumers are ready to get back to some sense of normality and support the café, restaurant and bar society again. However, it is obvious that there is still a sense of nervousness by some who will be waiting and watching rather than rushing back immediately. Therefore it will be business critical to get revival strategies in place and working well for all, from the right stock levels, to creative menu choices that match what people are looking for, through to thoughtful staff planning. Our reintroduction workshops that are planned to go live from 19th June on www.monin.com/uk are driven by these insights” 

The insights from MONIN UK’s survey also showed that while there is an appetite from consumers to return to their favourite venue within the first month of opening (67%),  only 17% say that they would return in the first week and just over 15% in the following week. 

Additionally, nostalgia will also be a key factor in their purchasing decisions with 27% saying they most missed their favourite food and drink dishes, and 53% of consumers said they will be ordering ‘something they already love’ first. So although there is always an interest in innovation, classics will need to lead the way as part of sensibly reduced and cultivated menus.

“Perhaps asking loyal customers on existing databases what they would like to see on drinks and food menus would be a good way of shaping what is right for reopening.” adds Hyde.

Reintroduction Workshops

To tackle concerns from the research and spark opportunity thinking, MONIN UK has created two digital courses that aim to help operators navigate reopening effectively and efficiently.  Both will be hosted by MONIN’s Dan Fellows, two time winner of the World Coffee in Good Spirits title, and the sessions will be supported by wider industry experts Sam Trevethyen, head of beverage training and development at Grind, Matt Hollidge, aka the Amateur Mixologist and Will Pitt, the 2019 UK Latte Art champion and 2020 UK Coffee in Good Spirits champion, as well as owner and founder of Fort’s in Margate, which is opening imminently. While, MONIN’s own Beverage Innovation Management team will be providing demonstrations and further insights throughout the courses.

“MONIN is  committed to supporting the foodservice industry at this crucial time so will be dealing with product and operations challenges, customer service and communications, and smart menu adaptions to try to make a positive difference.” Hyde explains.

The first of the two sessions will focus on operations and product offering., including:

  • How businesses can adapt order systems to ensure safe and efficient service, focusing on  customer flow, queue management and customer journeys.
  • How table service can work in the post-COVID-19 world
  • How preparation and service can be streamlined (coffee-making, cocktail-making, food preparation) to ensure as few people come into contact with the product as possible
  • How services can be adapted / supported online with smaller teams
  • How menus can be simplified, with examples of a winning shortened drinks menu
  • How nostalgia and comfort are relevant for now in designing shortened menus.

The second session will look at customer service and communication, with experts discussing:

  • The best ways to maintain a personal and warm customer service in an F&B environment with face coverings, physical screens and social distancing.
  • How to keep customers happy and engaged with potentially longer wait times for drinks and food, often outdoors, becoming part of the new normal
  • What tools can help businesses still provide excellent (and remote). customer service

Operators can watch the first course from 19th June on MONIN UK’s website – monin.com/uk – and the second from 29th June.