The successful future of the restaurant sector may lie with longer opening hours and multi-concept operations in one site, according to industry experts and operators.
With the opening of Duck & Waffle and the growing number of restaurants offering a takeaway or retail element to their businesses, diversification is a current concern for the industry with restaurateurs debating the potential recession-beating benefits it might bring.
Speaking to an audience gathered at a British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) seminar, Peter Backman, managing director of foodservice analysts Horizons, said his vision for the future of the industry was of restaurants with longer hours which appealed to the many different needs of various consumers at any time of the day.
"The fundamentals of the market are likely to remain similar, with eating out continuing to grow, albeit slowly, and consumers eating out on a regular basis."
He argued property problems could dictate the future direction of restaurants.
"Looking five, 10 or more years down the line the cost of rents and overheads will encourage operators to truly maximize the space they have, making each square foot of their premises contribute to boosting turnover in order to improve profitability," he said.
- 24-hour dining has truly hit the capital with the opening of Duck & Waffle , breakfast increasingly appears on menus such as at Bread Street Kitchen and both Vingt-Quatre and Alan Yau have committed to the all-day dining concept in recent months.
- Just as restaurants and pubs adopted the street food trend , a number of operators are now encompassing takeaway elements to their business including Mitchells and Butlers .
- On the retail side while some operators have seen their products hit supermarket shelves , others such as Carluccio's and most recently Jamie's Italian are trialling bringing the shop into the restaurant.
"It’s going to be ever-more important for operators to concentrate on what they do well, and shed what they don’t do so well. The future is going to be about the offer, the quality of that offer and how profitable the concept is," Backman added.