5. How do you see the tastes and preferences of consumers evolving the past year?
We are seeing that the market is becoming more influenced by the millennial generation. This generation is very open to trying new food concepts and they are particularly attracted to fast and casual setups (e.g. food kiosk, fast food restaurants, casual eateries). Being highly active in the social media space (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Food Blogs etc.), they are starting to emerge as a trendsetter in the F&B industry. As a result, businesses with novel concepts or an attractive selling angle could easily become the centre of attraction within a short period of time.
6. Why did you think that happened?
A younger generation of business owners is entering the F&B space and they are attracting customers of the same tastes and preferences. Their marketing strategy is also largely skewed to appeal and capture the attention of this group of target audience. Businesses are starting to notice the influence and spending power that this generation is wielding; many have adapted their menu and store settings to meet their needs.
7. What would be your main focus for 2017?
We will continue to focus on our core business, which is delivering excellent restaurant and café solutions for new and existing businesses. As mentioned earlier, we have been observing an increasing number of young entrepreneurs starting out in the F&B businesses. To better help this group of people, we are creating business networks to enable them to be connected with more experienced industry players and our in-house team will be fully supported by guiding them through the whole sequence with hands-on approach together during the setting up period. Whereas for the mature business locally and oversea, we will provide expansion support in different areas; Supply chain management, retail & merchandising, Franchising and constructing a joint venture model where they are able to tap into related experiences, finances and a strong network of F&B industry experiences.
8. Can you weigh in on what do you feel would be the next big thing in F&B?
Currently, most businesses are still concentrating their resources on main/first-tier cities. In these cities, there is usually more competition and the presence of big international brands or restaurant chains will make it harder for anyone to enter the market. It could also imply that more resources (e.g. marketing, higher setup costs) would be required to establish a foothold.
Therefore, I would recommend for businesses to consider exploring second tier cities in emerging economies with a large domestic population (e.g. Vietnam). While the focus is still largely placed on Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, cities like Haiphong and Da Nang could be attractive due to an increasing disposal income and less competitive environment.
9. If I wish to open an F&B business next year, what would be one tip you have for me?
Being prepared mentally to last the distance is crucial. Starting a business requires you to take a long-term perspective, make adequate preparations and be willing to make changes along the way to adapt to market conditions and customers’ feedback. I would say that it is similar to running a marathon, there will be times when you feel discouraged and exhausted, but if you persevere on, you will be able to reach and achieve significant milestones.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this interview. For even more insights into F&B, simply get in touch with us.