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Gaucho is a casualty of shifting social mores, say analysts

Published:  16 August, 2018

Healthy eating trends could be contributing to the demise of the casual dining sector as we know it, new research has boldly stated, while calling on the alcohol sector to be a force for change.

Matt Smith, joint administrator at Deloitte, said the rot at the core of Gaucho’s sister restaurant Cau was “rapid overexpansion, poor site selection, onerous lease arrangements and a fundamentally poor guest proposition”.

But other factors such as the rise in socially aware consumption habits - veganism and vegetarianism for example - are also to blame, analysts have said.

According to research from Canteen at food consultancy firm JWT, a third (34.5%) of people globally view food as a representation of their political and environmental opinions.

As a result, “unhealthy chains” such as Pizza Express and Prezzo, which have closed doors in 2018, have and will continue to suffer unless they reflect the shifting environmental and personal values of their customers.

Innovation in wet-led sales however could help things get back on track.

“People expect a lot more today from what they eat and drink,” said Megan Van Someren, founder of Canteen at JWT.

“Over 50% of Brits link what they drink to how they feel overall - mind, body and soul. It’s no wonder we see more of the gym and tonic mentality where health meets hedonism. Those brands and businesses that adapt to this through new products, ingredients and offerings will have a higher likelihood of success. Think superfood cocktails, raw wine, organic beer. There is so much potential for innovation.”

Technology is helping to accelerate these trends, while also having an impact on traditional habits.

According to Canteen, 37% of Brits believe WhatsApp has replaced family dinners.

Meanwhile consumers are increasingly seeking healthier foods and consequently heading home to prepare their own healthy meals rather than dining out.

The importance of engaging with consumers via technology was also highlighted in this morning’s Christmas briefing from Pernod Ricard.

The world number two in wines and spirits emphasised that outlets must offer a total journey for consumers, from a “compelling name to a good-looking serve, which will deliver an Instagramable moment,” said on-trade channel director Mark Harris.

Canteen also highlighted the importance of digital media.

Just over half of those surveyed use social media for alcohol and cocktail inspiration, it said.