Hospitality Trends 2021 | Changes in the Industry

Katie Paterson

January 13, 2021

The hospitality industry faced a challenging year in 2020. Over £50 billion in sales lost, 88 million fewer visits to the sector in the third quarter of 2020, and 43% of outlets still shut since last March unable to open again. Hospitality business were hit the hardest by the Covid-19 restrictions.

With 2021 brings a new sense of optimism, will this be the year hospitality gets back on its feet?

Hospitality in 2020

The Covid-19 restrictions stopped café’s, restaurant and bars, night clubs, theatres, and many more businesses from trading. In an effort to revive the economy, Eat Out to Help Out was introduced. With 52% of Brit’s taking part in the scheme, and 55% saying they felt safer in hospitality venues than in shops and supermarkets, as hospitality had measures in place to stop the spread of the virus, yet this was not even to stop harsh closures.

Over a quarter of business leaders say they will be unviable within 6 months if the current restrictions and levels of support are maintained.

By the end of October, the Market Recovery Monitor reported that trading capacity in the licensed sector had dipped to 70%. By the end of November, England had been in lockdown for a month, and the tiered system in December left 50,000 sites unviable.

In the new year we were sent into another full Lockdown, leaving hospitality to only serve takeaway food and drink. Over half a million businesses in England are being forced to close. BrewDog and Loungers have offered their closed restaurant and bars as vaccination centres to support the effort to vaccinate the UK.

Predictions for 2021


UKHospitality predict that localism will increase in 2021 when hospitality businesses reopen, following the increase in people buying from their local businesses in 2020.

Due to the large number of people working from home, local businesses attracted more footfall that previously went to city and town centres. As we head into 2021, an increase in flexible working means that local business will continue to thrive, even once we leave the Lockdown.

This is bad news for operators in the business districts of city centres. Business leaders are responding accordingly, turning away from city centres to residential areas. The fastest recoveries will be where people live rather than work.


Barcleys think that food needs to take on a modernistic and omnichannel approach: ‘In our view, brick and mortar retailers that embrace the omni-channel approach, drawing from the best of what both digital and in-store experiences have to offer customers, will dominate the consumer food retail landscape’.

The pandemic has almost ensured that all food businesses have taken an omnichannel approach. Nearly all restaurants now have an online menu, digital takeaway services and have partnered with a delivery company. Food delivery increased by 2X in 2020 compared to 2019. In September 2020, 10% of total sales came from delivery.

It is very important that operators for close relationships with major trading platforms like JustEat, UberEats and Deliveroo.


Since the emergence of the pandemic, restaurants have adapted their procedures to keep their staff and guests safe. These include wearing masks, ordering on an app, and booking a table beforehand. When businesses reopen, we will expect the same high levels of cleanliness as we did throughout 2019.

Contactless technology has grown in popularity due to the pandemic. Some operators refusing to take cash payments altogether.

Restaurants have adapted to this by replacing physical menus with QR codes/tablets to order food without the need for a waiter/waitress.

Natasha’s Law

Natasha’s Law is due to begin the 1st October 2021. Natasha’s Law applies only to foods prepacked for direct sale. It doesn’t effect prepacked foods or foods sold loose (with no packaging or packed at the request of the customer).

All PPDS products will need to be individually labelled with the name of the product, a full ingredient list, and any allergens emphasised.

NT Assure can help you get your business’s allergen labelling solution in place. We work alongside our partner Brother to offer an in-house printing solution.

Our PPDS solution will allow you to manage your food information from a tablet or another device, when you’ve entered your product information, you can print – all ready for the product to go on sale. This solution works for firms that have a singular product or several hundred.

For more information click here.

Out of Home Mandatory Calorie Labelling

The government have introduced the “Better Health” campaign which aims to decrease the rate of obesity in the UK.

To achieve their goal, out-of-home establishments with over 250 employees across the company will have to add calorie labels to their food.

Restaurants, bakeries, caterers, entertainment venues and hotels that serve food would all have to calorie label their food options.

For more information on calorie labelling and how we can support your business please click here.

How to keep your restaurants safe

At NT Assure, our digital menu software, Smart Menu, allows guests to view your menu on a digital application. Smart Chef will show customers all allergen information so that they can safely eat out.

Smart Chef will replace your paper menus, providing an environmentally friendly solution, also reducing the transmission of the virus.

For more information download the Smart Menu whitepaper here.

If you want to get in contact with one of our team, call 01933 272089 or email 😁


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