The travel and leisure sector
has faced a number of challenges
over the last few years which
include the economic downturn,
a perceived reputation for poor
service and unpredictable
weather to name but a few.
However, according to a variety of industry
experts including Mintel and SSP, the
situation is slowly improving and there are
great opportunities out there for savvy
food operators who are willing to innovate.
Data from NPD Crest (YOY change to end
February 2013) reveals that consumer
spend on food and drink in travel and
leisure is down, but the number of visits
are up slightly, indicating that the spend
per head has declined.
Says Hina Patel, of Nestlé Professional:
"Whilst people still want to do the same
leisure activities they were doing prior to
the recession, they are looking for ways to
stretch their money, increasingly choosing
where they go based on deals available.
“Once in the leisure site there is an
opportunity for operators to increase the
value perceptions of the food and drink they
offer consumers to encourage spending
on site. This can be done by including new
products and dishes with quality cues,
such as locally sourced or healthier, or by
increasing differentation of the food and
beverage range versus High Street."
Food and drink is a secondary
thought when it comes to travel
and leisure and convincing people
to spend their hard-earned money
on purchasing food is the main
battle, says Gillian Williamson, category
marketing manager for Macphie of Glenbervie:
"Mintel advise that operators should make
food and drink an integral part of the whole
experience, not just an after-thought. 52%
of visitors to zoos and wildlife parks tend to
have a quick bite to eat/snack rather than
a full meal. Foodservice operators need to
be aware of this and ensure they offer the
correct size of portion at the right time of the
day. This could be as simple as hot fi lled rolls
in the morning or portable breakfast pots
with yoghurt and granola or porridge."
Gillian advises following the lead of fast
operator Subway at lunch-time, by offering
fresh, customisable sandwiches.
"Think fresh bread, fresh salad and a good selection of
"In the afternoon
when visitors are looking for a pick-me-up
after a busy day on their feet, offer a mini
portable afternoon tea to share. This could
be bite-sized classics such as Victoria
Sponges, French Fancies, fresh creamand
strawberry pancakes and scones teamed
with good quality tea. The price is also a key
consideration as consumers need to feel as
though they are getting value for money."
Whilst statistics show people are
snacking less at home, they do
still like to treat themselves
when they go out.
Sanjeev Khanna, head of speciality channel at
Kellogg's UK, says: "People are more likely to
indulge when they go out, or on their holidays,
as they feel like they have earned the treat."
As a result the channels of sport and leisure,
motorway and roadside and accommodation
are seeing growth in the number of snacking
occasions. The key needs of people within
the channel are portability, treat and value.
People are also looking for familiar brands
they love, claims Sanjeev.
"Savoury snacks is amarket Kellogg's hasn't
been a part of before until last year when we
acquired Pringles and launched our first crisp
under the Special K portfolio, Special K Cracke
Crisps," continues Sanjeev. "Pringles is the
number one selling sharing snack brand in
the UK, worth over £160 million in retail sales, so it
presents an excellent sales opportunity for
retailers. We also know that more than half the
UK population has bought Pringles in the last
12 months alone. The Pringles brand is all about
delivering unexpected moments of fun and
enhancing the social experiences of its customers.
This clearly ties in with many of the reasons
people have come to your location."
Another key trend which fi ts with
the demand for on-the-go food is the
ever-growing trend of street food.
Says Gillian Williamson: "Street food is still
massive and growing not only in London but in
cities outside of London as well. This trend could
be adapted for theme parks and zoos, offering
fresh, portable, easy-to-eat food which is fifilling
and delicious. South American and Mexican food
is a trend we see growing which is perfect for the
street food revolution. Fresh burritos and tacos
along with chilli bowls are all great options.
"Italian food such as pizza and pasta are also
popular choices for the British public. By having
ready-made fl atbreads for bases and plain pasta,
customers can choose their toppings or pasta
sauces at point of order. Macphie savoury sauces
are versatile and easy to adapt and personalise
depending on the dish."
The UK hot drinks market is worth
approximately £634.3million and is an
essential product within the travel and
leisure industry, helping customers
to stay hydrated, as well as boosting
their wellbeing and experience - especially when travelling.
From an operator's perspective,
hot drinks offer a fantastic GP on
every cup sold, and if you factor
in potential food sales such as
confectionery or bakery snacks,
there's serious profits to be had!
John Sutcliffe, out of home and convenience
controller, Taylors of Harrogate, explains:
"Above anything else, especially when eating
and drinking out-of-home, value for money
is the biggest purchasing driver. Considering
the premiums travellers can pay for hot drinks
or even when drinks are complementary,
a quality offering that supports and
reflfl ects the operator is essential."
Taylors of Harrogate work closely with all
of their customers to ensure they have the
right tea and coffee for their operation and
customer base, and provide training and
tasting workshops with their resident buyers
and serving guides to ensure staff are
confifident in selling.
Adam Cohen, manager of the Halfway House
pub in Shipley, Yorkshire, utilised these
services with stunning results. He says: "You
might have served customers the best food in
the world but if you are let down by the coffee,
that can leave a bad taste in people's mouths.
"Hot drinks are big business for us, especially
during the winter months when customers like
to relax on the sofas by the fire. There's a real
coffee culture and one of our sister sites had
started pushing their coffee offering and we wanted to do the same being a local
supplier Taylors of Harrogate was a great fit."
The Halfway House has seen its hot drinks
offering grow by 14%, following the
introduction of Taylors Speciality teas
and coffee, Yorkshire Tea and Yorkshire Gold.
"Aligning ourselves with Taylors and Yorkshire
Tea, which are both brands out there on TV and
have that national recognition, can only be a
good thing for the business. We have branding
on the door, outside with A-boards, a large
format canvas print and the big display
cabinet to promote quality in the business.
The fact is you wouldn't fill your bar with
unknown ales and beers, people like to
know what they're drinking - the same
goes for hot drinks."
The Halfway House now has a separate
dessert and coffeemenu, and has plans to
introduce an Afternoon Teamenu. "We're not
Costa and we never plan to be but afternoon
tea provides a real opportunity to profifi t
between 2.30pmand 4.30pm which is a dead
time for us," adds Adam. "If we can drive sales
during that period, especially given the fact
we have a strong hot drinks and dessert
offering in place, well, it’s not a lot of effort
for the teamand it’s good for the pub."
Article taken from August 2013 issue of Stir it up magazine. Get your copy here