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Industry insight Report From Reshaping the catering industry

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How will the catering industry develop in the post epidemic era? In the face of this unprecedented crisis, although there is no simple and ready-made solution, the report “reshaping the catering industry: industry insight” released by the Asia Pacific headquarters of Marriott International Group provides insightful views to analyze the medium and short-term impact and changes of the epidemic on the catering industry (especially the Asian market).

From the famous chef / restaurant owner gaggan Anand, Emmanuel stroobant and Vicky Cheng, to the talented bar operators Agung Prabowo and Tom Egerton, 55 key opinion leaders from Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Perth, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei and Tokyo shared their views and insights, and finally formed the top ten emerging trends released in the report. Including authoritative catering consultants, media and the chefs of Marriott International’s hotels, they also contributed their unique perspectives to the report.

Bart buiring, chief marketing officer for Asia Pacific region of Marriott International Group, said: “the most innovative enterprises have turned the challenges brought by the epidemic into opportunities for innovation and development, and Marriott International Group is no exception. Reshaping the catering industry: industry insights is a result of brainstorming and widely supported by industry leaders in the Asia Pacific region. The report focuses on the lessons and perspectives we have gained from the growing and unprecedented importance of the catering industry. We believe that this report not only provides insights and information, but also conveys our optimism and confidence in the entire catering industry. “

The epidemic has led to the suspension of work and income for a period of time, as well as the interruption of agriculture and supply channels. However, it has also stimulated the innovation of the industry and provided valuable experience. The report “reshaping the catering industry: industry insight” elaborates on this in detail. A summary of ten valuable experiences is as follows:

1) The epidemic of retaliatory consumption vs. new frugalism has triggered a “big blockade” in many countries around the world, which makes consumers who lack social life have to endure claustrophobia for a long time. As major cities begin to restart economic activities and lift restrictions on catering, catering operators in the Asia Pacific region have experienced a surge in the number of customers and consumption. Chinese mainland diners undoubtedly have super purchasing power, and local chef and restaurant owners have expressed their confidence in the industry’s recovery. Camden Hauge, founder of happy place hospitality group, and other catering owners pointed out that since weeks of retaliatory consumption, the consumption level of diners and drinkers in Shanghai has been comparable. However, although retaliatory consumption has a great role in promoting the economy, it will be followed by a new trend of frugalism that consumers strive to save, refuse impulse consumption and extravagance. Catering industry must work harder to create attractive experience, in order to adapt to the more cautious financial expenditure of customer groups.

2) As people gradually adapt to the new normal of life, more and more customers will resume the habit of dining out. However, the catering industry does not think that eating out consumption can return to the pre epidemic level. There are still a lot of people who think it’s safer to eat at home, and the growth of delivery services has met this demand. According to market research firm dataspring, affected by the epidemic, the size of Southeast Asia’s food delivery market will rise from US $2 billion in 2018 to US $8 billion in 2025. During the blockade period, we observed that catering enterprises turned their business to meal delivery and takeout services one after another, and consumers can still expect to obtain innovative experience even at home, such as semi-finished food bags, bottled cocktails, and delicious food from online farmer markets.

3) New mode of high-end Catering: there are many conjectures about the development of catering industry in the post epidemic era, especially the future of delicacy cuisine. As hedonists shift their feasts to their homes, they also look forward to better service from high-end restaurants. As Stephen zoisl, founder and chef of Singapore’s chef’s table by Chef Restaurant, said: “customers will appreciate the small details that can’t be provided by takeout delivery, so the in-house experience must be more optimized for service quality.” Thitid tassanakajohn, owner and chef of Le Du, a Michelin star restaurant in Bangkok, also believes that customers will expect and be able to get “VIP treatment” in view of the limited seats in the restaurant due to the requirements of social distance, while gaggan Anand, owner / chef of the restaurant, who has twice won the title of “Asia’s 50 best restaurants”, has won the title of “Asia’s 50 best restaurants” Anand believes that restaurant owners must “redouble their efforts and make positive efforts to create a special experience for customers.” The luxury of fine dining will always attract some loyal customers who can afford the high-end experience, but the possible economic downturn will also make some customers remain cautious. To this end, high-end restaurants are also reconsidering whether the lengthy tasting menu is feasible. Vivian Pei, chairman of the Senior College of the world’s 50 best restaurants, believes that a more casual and targeted menu that focuses on quality and value will win customers’ favor.

4) People in the industry believe that due to the popularity of meal delivery and takeout business, the consumption of paper products and disposable plastic products will increase, which will make sustainable development into a temporary dilemma. Tom Egerton, a promoter of proof & company spirits, said the general trend leading to this phenomenon is that people believe that the health of individuals and families is more important than the vague and uncertain threat of future climate change. David Yip, a food writer, said the epidemic caught everyone by surprise, but believed that people would pay more attention to sustainable development after the epidemic stabilized. Many chefs, including Jakub mares of the Athena luxury Select Hotel in Bangkok and Massimo pasquarelli of the Ritz Carlton meinian hotel in Singapore, have said they are taking this opportunity to choose sustainable and biodegradable packaging as much as possible. In the final analysis, the epidemic intensifies the urgency of building a green earth, and the catering industry must quickly find the corresponding solutions to seek business vitality while reducing the negative impact on the environment.

5) Will the epidemic bring an end to buffet, hot pot and dinner gathering? Half of the people in the industry predict that the dinner party will retreat to the second tier for a long time, while others firmly believe that the dinner party will remain as an integral part of Asian culture, especially Chinese culture. For example, China is currently promoting a number of initiatives, including “civilized dining table, public chopsticks and public spoon” activities, to encourage everyone to use public chopsticks and public spoon when dining out. Marriott International Group and other hotel groups also responded quickly to the call of local governments. All of its hotels provided two pairs of chopsticks for each customer participating in the dinner party, one of which was specially used to pick food from the public plate. It can be understood that customers are nervous and careful in the epidemic environment, but their demand for this kind of catering experience is unlikely to change, so restaurants must find other coping ways to meet this demand on the premise of ensuring customers’ health.

6) Global foot ban: what is troubling the food supply chain? The epidemic has brought a crisis to food safety, but catering operators such as AKI Wang, the boss of indulge experimental Bistro in Taipei, who has been relying on local suppliers, have not suffered much. The concept of “local food” is not particularly suitable for all countries like Singapore. Jed Gerrard, head chef of heart restaurant at Ritz Carlton Perth, also suggested that practitioners should explore the planting potential of their own backyard or roof garden. Looking forward to the future, due to the continuous logistics and quarantine restrictions, farmers may not be able to sell their products smoothly, eventually leading to the reduction of their production capacity. For the catering industry, how to maintain a stable and good food supply under the epidemic situation will be an important long-term challenge.

7) The year 2020 is known as the year of short distance travel. Catering enterprises, which have been relying on the domestic market, are now feeling the warmth, while other types of enterprises are also rapidly adjusting their strategies in order to make profits from the domestic market. Even the hotel industry has tried its best to attract local guests with “home vacation” packages including catering discounts and health preserving experience, and readjust the catering experience to make it more in line with the local community’s preferences. At the Marriott Sydney Harbour roundabout, Raphael szurek, head chef of Sylvester’s restaurant, said that in addition to seasonal, local and honest food, flash food is also a good way to attract local diners. Many people predict that the future profits of hotels will depend more on catering places. In view of this, the hotel must break the stereotype and create a unique experience with excellent value proposition.

8) Since the outbreak of the intelligent catering industry, a large number of scientific and technological means have been adopted in catering establishments around the world to ensure the safety of meals. Scanning code to see the menu, contactless order and payment system has entered most places. Operators like Andrew Ho, the boss of Guangzhou underground bar hope & sesame, also see opportunities. Artificial intelligence can collect a large amount of data, provide reference for operation and business decision-making, and make enterprises stand on the cutting edge of the trend.

9) Innovation in the crisis: 90% of respondents in the industry said that the industry still needs catering innovation, and the epidemic provides opportunities for more new ideas to flourish. The virtual dining place between the chef and customers has been launched. Many catering companies have also turned to online stores to promote home cooking bags and groceries to increase revenue. Holly Graham, executive editor of drink magazine, believes that the crisis will encourage restaurant owners to choose more local ingredients and adjust their positioning to regard local customers as almost the only target group in the foreseeable future; ronnaporn, partner of backstage cocktail bar in Bangkok, believes that Kanivichaporn believes that in the current environment, to be able to maintain business while providing quality drinks is innovation.

10) More than 90% of the respondents in the service industry believe that the catering community will be closer and more cooperation projects will appear in the post epidemic era. From the “save fnbsg” campaign in Singapore to the help out hotspot initiative in Australia and the amazing market project in Thailand, many community initiatives have emerged in the Asia Pacific region to provide support to institutions and individuals who have been severely hit by the epidemic.

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