Lynx Purchasing: casual dining contraction is independents’ opportunity

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Sensible buying habits will help independents make the most of opportunities in the current market, says Rachel Dobson, managing director of buying specialist Lynx Purchasing

With casual dining brands closing sites and scaling back expansion, well-run independent operators have an opportunity to take back market share.

Operators who do their homework on the eating-out market, including implementing strong buying disciplines, can broaden their customer appeal. Since the start of 2018 we’ve seen a number of well-known casual dining operators announce branch closures, renegotiate with their landlords, and cut back on expansion plans.

It’s clear that some brands had over-extended themselves. While every business is dealing with the challenges of more cautious levels of consumers spending, there are still customers ready to eat out if they are offered good value and quality.

Many of the businesses we work with are independent restaurants, pubs and cafés, and we’re advising them to look carefully at their menus and suppliers, and make sure they are implementing sensible buying habits that will enable them to make the most of opportunities in the current market.

There will be boosts to trade around upcoming occasions such as Easter, as well as two bank holidays and the Royal Wedding in May, and, as we know, it sometimes only takes a spell of good weather to persuade customers out to eat and drink.

Lynx Purchasing is highlighting the changing eating out landscape as it publishes the Spring 2018 edition of its regular Market Forecast, which draws on exclusive data from its suppliers to look at buying trends.

While there are many factors beyond operators’ control, we are emphasising the importance of cost control and good buying habits to all our customers. Our new free insight guide, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Purchasing Teams”, details seven proven ways that operators can make simple improvements to their purchasing, to generate substantial savings that can mean the difference between staying profitable or going under in this challenging market.

Both the Spring 2018 Market Forecast and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Purchasing Teams guide are available to download free from the Lynx Purchasing website at www.lynxpurchasing.co.uk.

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