Walter Seib

Good news for foodservice!

A prosperous future for food and beverage

According to the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)*, foodservice is expected to grow by 3-4% between 2015 and 2020. For the F&B travel sector there is a of positive outlook of 2.2% CAGR sales in this same period.

As a world leader in travel dining HMSHost International keeps innovating the F&B offer in order to continue to meet the needs of our customers and to live up to these positive expectations for our sector, and maybe even surpass them! Studies show that the reason for the expected growth in foodservice is the change in consumer behaviour. We identify two main changes in this behaviour:

1)      A merge of eating and shopping/traveling under one roof

2)      The increased use of digital technologies in the F&B sector

Eating is the new shopping

In shopping areas the different needs of consumers will become more and more integrated and combined in one place. For some time now, HMSHost International has already observed that in travel areas eating is no longer a refuelling break between destinations, but it merely becomes a meaningful experience on its own. The captive audience may even change into consumers who voluntarily visit travel areas because of the extensive F&B offer. The same shift of a functional use of an area towards a more leisure and experienced focused use we currently observe for shopping areas. Since consumers can buy everything online, offline shopping should add more value to attract the same customer. Consumers experience this differentiating value in shopping centres, mostly situated outside the city centre. Those experience and residential places seduce customers with a consumer oriented offer of facilities, primarily F&B, experience industry and offices. By continuously listening to the changed consumer behaviour HMSHost International can adjust the F&B offer and is able to meet the needs of our customers. In McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Roermond in the Netherlands together with our partners we created F&B places where people can relax before, during and after their shopping experience. We even serve customers who do not visit the venue with the intention to shop, but for the wide range of the food & beverage offer and its differentiating value. If the CAGR expectations turn out to be true, by 2020 eating will be the new shopping!

Improving experiences

Technology makes our lives more streamlined and efficient already for a long time. It seems only natural in the coming years digital technologies would also be used in the F&B sector to increase the ability to meet the needs of consumers. HMSHost International is leading the way when it comes to using digital services to offer customers meaningful F&B experiences in travel areas. A commitment to improving customers’ experiences means taking a holistic approach to the journeys of our customers and examine how we can improve each step of them by the use of technology. In 100 airports we took advantage of the FLIO-app, an app that lists everything you need to know about an airport, including F&B options. Currently, users of the app can browse the F&B options on the way to the airport. The app also offers redeemable discounts at our F&B establishments in these airports. Another digital technology that improves the travel experience of our customers is QikServe, a digital service HMSHost International has developed for visitors of Schiphol airport. The app makes sure customers dining experiences are more efficient. Using their smartphones, diners scan a QR code on their table to browse the menu, order food, pay for it and then collect it at a dedicated counter separate from those paying with card or cash. The app streamlines the conventional process of dining as orders travel directly to chefs, which takes the pressure off waiting staff at peak times; for both our employees as for our customers a very efficient digital invention which stimulates the F&B experience.

Unfortunately, we cannot avoid flight delays, but in the near future we can turn the waiting time into a less tedious affair thanks to iCoupon. This new service HMSHost International has developed will allow passengers to add discount vouchers to their boarding passes that can be used in the departure lounge. This thoughtful service that will simplify the process of paying is an example of how we offer considered digital services throughout our operations to continuously meet the needs of our customers, and if we do it right: even surpass them! After all, that is what digital technologies are all about: they improve our real-world experiences and serve customers better.

Hereby, we believe we can keep up with the change in consumer behaviour and we will live up to the predictions of the expected CAGR growth in foodservice and create a prosperous future for F&B! I will tell you more about this on 31st of May in Berlin.

Source: * Euromonitor International 2016