Trends can flourish in both cultures and countries, but what causes them to occur and take hold? Today, customer satisfaction is being driven by the return to craft – boutique, local, and real. In food retailing, the power has shifted from big supermarkets to independents. Why? Because they offer genuine contact with consumers and thrive on face-to-face interactions – this in turn generates higher levels of customer satisfaction. The scale may still be small, but it is having an effect.
The return of the butcher
The original artisan economy was blindsided by industrialism, and it can be argued that this gave rise to the reign of supermarkets – places which offered everything under one roof. Now consumers have gone back to wanting to deal with people who have an expert level of knowledge, and they choose shops or restaurants which suit their wants and needs. The local butcher offers a product at a fair price and isn’t leading the customer with price advertising. This growth of craft has been occurring in all aspects of hospitality, but how long will it be before another trend creeps in?
Why does it matter what trend is happening?
In hospitality, it is vital to monitor not just trends on the up, but also those going down. Many will look to the past for inspiration on future changes, others will watch and wait, and a few will consult with independent viewers to ensure they have the knowledge.
Perspective and timeframe are both key factors to consider, as is wisdom – knowing when the tipping point might come will make any transitions further down the line a lot easier to handle.
The big supermarkets are arguably no longer desired in the same way the once were. Like we have witnessed this return of the butcher, the baker, we are also seeing a rise in the service level required in a hotel, the return of traditional drinks in the bar, and the importance of food in the overall offering. Supermarkets didn’t see this trend coming, or didn’t want to, and many have been hit hard. Therefore, companies in the hospitality industry must stay alert and be on top of the next trends to ensure this same fate doesn’t happen to them.
People have always looked to the past for ideas to move forward; it helps us grow in life and in professional capacities. When we look at the return of craft, it was partly caused by a community united on ideals that creatively improved and reshaped the offer. History is profound and can be far-reaching with its influence. There are many answers to why we returned to antiques, art, books and artisan food, but if one of the reasons is this return to the past, then it is quite possible the future will bring some more ‘new’ trends.
About the author
Ben V Butler writes for eHotelier’s sister print title EP Business in Hospitality.