Customers moving away from chains to support local businesses: Premierline

The company cited three other reasons why customers are inclined to buy local.

The idea of helping small businesses by buying local and putting money into the local economy
Customers wanting to support local businesses and the quality of food are some of the factors that could explain the change in consumer habits reshaping the UK foodservice industry, according to Premierline.

Referencing an article from Business Matters, the hospitality and leisure insurance company explained that chains will also use the same recipe in all of their restaurants throughout the country, which poses a concern in terms of variety.

“A meal that you might choose in Glasgow will taste the same as the same meal in London. Whilst customers are getting the same experience regardless of the location, they don’t receive much variety,” the company said.

“On the other hand, independent food businesses can work to a recipe, changing menus to take advantage of seasonal produce, or if they receive customer feedback to make a change, they will be able to do this at short notice without having to make substantial changes to how they operate. This flexibility can offer customers a higher level of variety when choosing to eat or drink at smaller businesses.”

Some people, Premierline added, prefer the idea of helping small businesses by buying local and putting money into the local economy “rather than into the pockets of a corporate chain.”

“Research from IRI found that 55% of UK shoppers prefer to buy from independent businesses rather than chains, and chains know this. Starbucks, for example, even set up their 15th Ave Coffee & Tea café in Seattle to shy away from the more corporate image, to a coffee shop that sourced local produce and recycled fittings,” the company added.

Citing Business Matters again, the company said that another reason that chain restaurants or cafés could be losing customers is that many “rarely make changes to their style or menu” and that small business feel more friendly.

“For instance, if you went into a Nando’s or Starbucks and ordered your favourite meal or drink, chances are that they would look and taste the same as they did 5 or more years ago. Some may have started to offer vegan or gluten free menus, but fundamentally chain restaurants change little from year to year,” Premiereline said.

“Small catering businesses will get to know their customers, often on a first name basis, and you can get away with giving the odd little extra for regular customers or on special occasions. This kind of interaction is rare with a chain restaurant or café.”

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