The dangers of the single site offering


The dangers of the single site offering

The dangers of the single site offering

The trend for single offering and specific concept sites may have taken off in the UK, but hospitality operators should beware getting swept up in the trend and alienating guests.

The single offering has spelt success for a number of brands over the past couple of years, particularly those who take time to work out what their customers are craving. Pret a Manger asked consumers what they could do to improve their vegetarian offering and received more than 10,000 suggestions on their blog. In response, along with increasing their vegetarian and vegan range, the company launched a Soho pop-up offering solely vegetarian food. Originally intended as a temporary site, Pret has now announced that the shop will be open permanently, and with more sites to follow.

However, despite the success stories of the single offering trend, there are cautionary tales. A County Durham pub found itself under fire when villagers made complaints about a sign pushing their meat dishes with the slogan, 'It's all about meat'. Management took swift action, changing the sign to 'It's all about me' in an attempt to demonstrate to guests that they are at the centre of the business. Alienating any particular group - such as vegetarians or vegans - can be a risky strategy.

In addition, there's evidence of a growing appetite for customisation, which offers flexibility to the 40% of diners whose biggest concern is the availability of suitable dishes. Specific concept sites may be paying off for some operators, but for most guests, variety is still a priority. Earlier this year, research from OpenTable revealed the prevalence of "menu-hacking" and ordering off menu, and in February the Greene King Leisure Tracker noted guests' increasingly adventurous tastes.

There's no easy answer. All brands need to stand out for something in a crowded marketplace or they will be forgotten, and playing it safe won't always lead to commercial recognition. If you're confident that despite the risks a single offering is right for your brand, it can help to involve guests in the decision-making process. Ensure there are still customisation options for guests when they're ordering, and make sure you're receiving plenty of research and feedback from your potential guests, from the offering conception onwards.

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