Food Service Trends : 2015

food trends f2lawAs we slowly work our way through January we turn our thoughts turn to what’s going to be the next big thing in food service and catering in 2015. How have the trends of 2014 faired and will they continue into 2015? What’s bubbling up under the surface on how we eat that’s ready to be picked up en masse?

Just like the fashion industry, food trends come and go, some staying for the long haul. We take a look at what’s piqued back in 2014, what’s sticking around and what’s new for this year:

THE FOOD ITSELF

Cronuts and Bruffins. 2014 was the year of the cronut – a mix between a croissant and a donut. And now we’re being treated to bruffin. Yep, you’ve got it…. a brioche muffin. These culinary mashups, and their blended names, look set to get more popular over the coming months, with more hybrids popping up and taking the limelight.

Cider. Hot on heels of the ‘craft beer’ movement comes cider. Thanks to the popularity of flavoured ciders over and above pre-mixed, ready-to-drink options such as vodka mixes, sales of cider continue to rise. The UK and Swedish cider markets are taking the lead and it’s expected new
Veggies. Vegetables are having a bit of a moment thanks to chef’s like Ottolenghi and it’s not just vegetarians who’re getting in on the action. Plant based and organic food takes the fore on our menus and continues to do so into 2015.

Nostalgia and tradition. Baby boomers continue to be a growth market for dining, whilst millenials have taken a dip in recent times. The nostalgia and British traditions is a trend we’re seeing more and more popping up in UK dining. From traditional tea and the classic G&T to childhood favourites of ice cream, pineapple and even (dare we say it) smash.

THE SERVICE

Solo Dining. Reports show that almost 50% of dining occasions are of a single diner eating alone. This rise in solo dining is set to see more establishments introducing communal tables and single seats, and finding innovative ways to accommodate them without losing out on covers.
Integrating Tech. Diners are digital. They’re on their smart phones and tablets and expect free wifi when they eat out. They’re also expecting more and more tech in the dining experience – from interactive menus, digital displays or even digital tables which take their order. There is a rise in digital-free-dining but if that’s not your USP or mission, then it’s better to move with the times and keep abreast of what diners expect digitally, as well as everything else.

Mission marketing. It’s no good just leading on price, cuisine, experience or quality theses days. You have to stand for something and have a mission. Whether that’s being sustainable or having social responsibility, you need to be positioning yourself as caring and standing for something more than just the food.

Want to share your thoughts with us on this? Feel free to tweet us! @F2LAW

8 Simple Ways To Increase Traffic To Your Small Business Website

So many small business owners are under the illusion that “if you build it they will come” when it comes to they’re website. They spend a lot of time, effort and money on creating a great looking site but no time, effort or money on figuring out how they’re going to get people there. But not you, you know that marketing is an essential part of getting people on to your website so they can become customers and fans and you can make money and grow your business.
To help you, we’ve got 11 simple ways you can increase traffic to your small business website today:

1. Get your existing customers visiting

If you’ve been in business a while, it’s likely you have a pool of clients and customers you can reach out to and invite over to your website. The best way to do this is via email. Through an application like Aweber or Mailchimp you can add your customers emails (if you have their permission) to a list and email them regularly. You can also integrate these services with your website so people can sign up to your list right from your site.
BONUS TIP: Combine this with Step 8 and you’ve got a great incentive to get them back and checking you out.

2. Google My Business (aka Google Places)

If you’re a local business or you have a business address, get yourself added to Google My Business [http://www.google.com/business/]. Not only will this give you great SEO value which will drive traffic to your website, but will help customers find your all important details when they Google you, like your website, email and phone number.

3. Online Local Directories

Local businesses should be registering with all the popular online local directories such as Yelp, to make sure that customers who are searching for your products and services can find you. Make sure in your listings that you include your website, phone number and any testimonials or reviews you can.
BONUS TIP: If you’ve a free offer (step 8) on your website, mention it in your listings.

4. Simple SEO

Your website should be optimised for search engines (SEO) so they can find you, trawl your site and index (list) your pages on their search engine. This includes adding keywords, title tags and meta descriptions to your pages and blog posts. You can get great advice on SEO for small businesses at SEO Mark [http://www.seomark.co.uk/]

BONUS TIP: If your website is on WordPress we recommend the YOAST SEO plugin, it makes optimising your pages and posts a doddle.

5. Blogging

Blogging not only helps your SEO but helps your customers too. It builds up your know, like and trust factor and establishes you as experts in your field. Answer your customer’s FAQs on the blog and provide as much value as you can and you’ll be able to share these via your email and social media, driving traffic back to your site and get more visits from search engines who index your blog posts.

6. Ask your customers how they discovered you

Tapping into your current customers can give you a wealth a knowledge. Why not survey them and in return offer a prize to one lucky person who enters the survey? Ask them how they found you, what social media sites they use, where they spend time online (blogs and websites). Ask them to review you for an added entry into the prize draw. All this is valuable information you can use to find and be where your ideal customers are.

7. Social Media + CTA

You’ll likely know by now that social media is a great way to reach out and connect with your ideal customers – but how do you drive traffic back to your website from there? Sharing your blog posts, free opt-in and other benefits on social media with a Call To Action (CTA) to click to view more on the website.

8. Offer a freebie on your website

If you don’t have a free download or offer on your website you’re missing a trick. Offering an ebook, free course, discount voucher or something of high value to your website visitors in exchange for their email address will not only grow your email list of leads, but also be a great incentive for people to visit your website. Just make sure it’s something your customers needs and/or want and is aligned with what you offer as a business.

So which tips are you doing already and which can you start implementing today? Take action and tell us what you’re going to do next to drive traffic to your website in the comments below.