How artisan food and drink providers are adapting to suit diverging tastes

Wednesday 11th May 2016

Simon Mydlowski, partner in the commercial property team at Gordons, looks at how food and drink offerings are being adapted to suit changing tastes and demands in the leisure and hospitality sector.

The last half a decade has seen a major shift in consumer tastes in the leisure sector, and the emergence of artisan food and drink outlets serving a truly diverse selection of produce.

The change itself has been catalysed by the evolution of the craft beer sector and the so-called rise of the hipster; that youth sub-culture that came out of nowhere to occupy the nation’s cafes and bars and bring a new sense of fashion and food and drink tastes to the nation.

Of course, the notion that the rise of the artisan food and drink outlet is solely down to one sub-culture is wide of the mark, but there is no doubt that the appearance of new wine bars, coffee shops and craft beer venues has been unavoidable, and in many cases has helped to rejuvenate city centres and enabled regional and even national expansion.

Regeneration and rejuvenation

One striking example is Bradford’s North Parade, which just a few short years ago was home to empty shops and devoid of life, but has been transformed through the introduction of new venues and is now a leisure destination in its own right.

The Sparrow is credited as the catalyst for the area’s rejuvenation, with its huge range of beers and revolving food menu offering a break from the usual pint of lager and packet of crisps, and its success has spawned significant investment in the area, from the Record Café, which combines a traditional record shop and bar, to Al’s Dime Bar, a cocktail bar adorned with movie posters regularly playing host to live music.

Of course, the evolution is not limited to Bradford, but it is an example of how diverging tastes have fed the demand for new venues offering something different.

No longer are consumers content to settle for moving from pub to pub and ending the night with a curry; now, they want both, and business owners are capitalising on this by launching new ventures that amalgamate the two.

Combined approach

The launch of Bundobust on Mill Hill in Leeds was an example of how combining two popular business propositions – in this case the aforementioned The Sparrow and award-winning Indian restaurant Prashad – could successfully result in a new offering catering for evolving tastes.

It is no surprise that Bundobust soon eyed expansion and began to spread its reach to Manchester and beyond, and therein lies the opportunity presented to businesses that seek to do something different.

National expansion

The artisan coffee and wine bar Artigiano opened six outlets in the south of England and Wales in the space of just three years, based on the concept of catering for tastes round-the-clock, which means a focus on the continental coffee shop vibe during the day and a transformation into a relaxed wine bar on an evening.

The approach illustrates the adaptation of the leisure sector to suit an always-on world, where people can access anything at any time, and want this to extend to their food and drink tastes.

As such, the owners of Artigiano rolled out a new restaurant and takeaway concept known as Base and Barley in Exeter, offering wood-fired sourdough pizzas alongside craft beers and boutique wine, offering consumers a range of options to suit their diverse requirements.

As tastes continue to evolve, the sector will need to stay ahead of the curve, with venues not only offering a personal touch, but something new and innovative, which can ensure new and returning custom while also laying the foundations for expansion.

If you need legal advice on commercial property matters, including the licensed premises sector, please contact Simon on 01274 202514 or simon.mydlowski@gordonsllp.com. For more information about us please visit www.gordonsllp.com/sectors/retail-lawyers/.