Increasing menu sharing in UK restaurants as customers shrink | Restaurants

Linden Stores, in the Cheshire village of Audlem, started a full sharing menu of modern British food, with two people sharing seven dishes including roasted pepper croquettes and Cornish cheddar, and hake wrapped in a wild boar pie and chocolate tart and peanut butter.

Laura Christie and her partner, Chris Busted, moved the restaurant to the village from London in 2020. She was surprised by the reaction.

“We weren’t expecting it to be this important,” said Christie, who grew up in Wirral.

“It was a completely new idea for people. We are in a small village but it turns out we broke more boundaries than we thought with this concept of sharing. One client said to me, ‘Is this the way everyone eats in London?’ which made me laugh. He said. Lots of people say, “I’ve tried things I wouldn’t have chosen and really enjoyed.”

Linden Stores isn’t alone in rethinking its menu to make food sharing more popular. Stealing your partner’s candy is a time-honoured tradition in restaurants, but restaurants are increasingly offering two spoonfuls as the norm as sharing platters become the hospitality industry’s newest way to battle the slump. One in seven desserts will now be on restaurant menus, according to Lumina Intelligence, a leading research company, which reports that people are spending 14% less compared to last year. Part of this spending cut is the result of people buying only main courses and skipping appetizers and desserts.

“It makes people feel like they’re getting more of an experience”: restaurateur Laura Christie.

“Restaurants are introducing more communal dishes across discretionary courses, including appetizer and dessert platters, to encourage spending while reducing customers,” Lumina said in her latest Menu Tracker report.

Kristi thinks sharing is working because restaurants are becoming less formal and claustrophobic, though she’s keen to make sure guests don’t need to fight over portions.

“It makes people feel like they’re getting more experience. It helps with our spending on everyone. It helps with efficiency, because you know what you have to prepare and you need fewer people to deliver because you know, early on, what you’re doing.”

Christie’s other restaurant, Oklava in Shoreditch, East London, which she co-owns with Selin Kiazim, serves modern Turkish food and also emphasizes sharing. Nearby, Apothecary East began offering several Japanese-inspired post lists.

Tom Kerridge has served a £15 two-course lunch menu at his Michelin-starred restaurant The Coach, in Marlowe, where diners can try dishes such as roasted bacon with Cacklebean fried eggs and chips, and will bring it to Kerridge’s Bar & Grill In London in the New Year.

Chef Tom Kerridge
Chef Tom Kerridge served a two-course lunch for £15 at The Coach in Marlowe. Photography: Christian Barnett

Lumina Intelligence’s research also found that customers drank less—from June to October, the number of servings including alcohol dropped from 38.5% to 33.9%, with the largest drop among cocktails and other spirits. Those between the ages of 18 and 34 were more likely to have had a meal that was free of alcoholic beverages.

The research showed that people were more likely to meet friends for coffee than to eat a full meal. Average per capita spending at a restaurant fell from £25.38 to £21.80, while cafes and sandwich shops saw a rise from £6.05 to £6.69.

Separate research by consumer consultancy CGA showed that 34% of people chose cheaper food options and 25% ordered fewer courses.

“We are starting to see major market shifts – consumers are using their purchasing power to manage their basket inflation,” Andrew Obe, director of food and sustainability for the British Retail Consortium for MPs in the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said. last week. “We’re seeing people change their shopping habits, just to try and increase their family income a little bit.”

He said people eat fewer takeaways and cook from scratch more often. “And also, [there’s] Less takeout, probably, go on.” “People are eating more at home, so the focus is more on home.”

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