Report highlights change in how venues are used

Worldwide: A report by Withers, an international law firm, reveals how Covid-19 is changing what customers want and look for in hospitality venues, with expert commentary from figures within property, architecture, land development and academia.

The report discusses the impact of Covid-19 on our social lives and outlines how this is creating opportunities for hospitality businesses to develop successful new offerings.

It highlights how there is a growing importance for third spaces – that is semi-social venues such as bars, cafes, pubs and restaurants, which offer the potential to replace the social network that was previously built around the office.

The 15 industry professionals interviewed by Withers include:

• Robert Adam – Robert Adam Architectural Consultancy

• Yolande Barnes – University College London

• Lucian Cook – Savills

• Nectar Efkarpidis – Molonglo

• Jonathan Harbottle – Land & Partners

• Philip Harvey – Property Vision

• Robbie Kerr – ADAM Architecture

• Katrina Kostic Samen – KKS Savills

• Marcus Loo – Savills

• Islam Mahdy – Credence Hospitality Developments

• David McDowall – BrewDog

• Chris Miller – White Rabbit Fund

• Mat Oakley – Savills

• Richard Pickering – Cushman & Wakefield

• Mark Williams – Queen Mary School of Business

They predict that the more agile, independent and smaller-scale operators within the industry will adapt fastest to this growing demand, offering a product that is tailored to local needs.

With more time spent remote working, there will be a demand for venues that offer ‘rent a table’ solutions. Mahdy, chairman and CEO of Credence Hospitality Developments, said: “Hospitality is going to eventually take over a lot of the co-working functionality. It is better positioned to fill that gap.”

Withers’ experts have also documented a flatter curve when it comes to trading times, with reduced footfall at traditional peak times and hours that were typically quieter becoming busier. Going forward, they believe that venues that can make themselves attractive to customers all-day are going to do better than those that focus on trading at the historically peak times.

Quality gastro pubs and restaurants are expected to benefit from continuing to offer delivery options, with predictions that the cook at home market (a fledgling sector before the lockdown) has developed to a point where it is a real opportunity.

Jeremy Wakeman, CEO of the Withers business division and a commercial real estate partner, commented: “None of our respondents working in the food and drink sector believe socialising is going away because of Covid-19, but we have identified a new opportunity in developing bigger and better casual work environments in bars and restaurants.

“What is clear is that home workers are frequenting local, independent food and beverage retailers in a way they have not done historically,” he continued. “Independent cafes and coffee shops, for example, are coming into their own and even local pubs and restaurants may do well if they are able to adjust their model and offer deliveries in the future.”

Click here to read the full report on The Future of Real Estate: Work, Home and Social.

Withers Worldwide has over 170 partners and more than 450 lawyers with a broad-ranging client based including multinational corporations, governments, international institutions and individual businesses.

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