Top trends for hospitality businesses in 2021

After a uniquely challenging 12 months, we all hope that the top trend for hospitality businesses in 2021 will be a return to normality, as the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines allows social distancing restrictions to be relaxed.

But what other related and non-related trends can we also expect to encounter as the year progresses? Here’s our pick of five top trends to look out for in hospitality in 2021.

Entertaining everyone

At Manco, we know the value of entertainment including pub jukeboxes, pool tables, quiz machines and fruit machines, but in 2021 this will be magnified like never before.

The promise of a return to socialising outside of our own homes will see many more people making good use of their local pub, restaurant or social club.

Installing as many forms of on-site entertainment as possible will help you to cater to a broad range of desires and demographics, so you can welcome this tidal wave of revellers back to your premises as soon as it is safe to do so.

Paper to plastic

It’s likely that paper £20 notes would have been withdrawn from circulation were it not for the pandemic.

The polymer £20 note launched in February 2020 and the Bank of England will give at least six months’ warning before its paper predecessor stops being legal tender.

But with the pandemic putting contactless card payments much higher on the agenda, it’s likely that in 2021, payments will trend from paper to plastic one way or the other.

Food and drink

Eat Out to Help Out was a brief but welcome break from the social distancing restrictions in the summer of 2020, but other than that, many Brits have had little opportunity to go out for food and drink over the past year or more.

Food was already important to many hospitality businesses, even traditionally drinks-focused venues like pubs, and as we move through 2021 and beyond, providing a good menu of food and drink will be an important way for many hospitality businesses to win back custom.

Brexit break-up

The UK’s divorce from the European Union is bound to have an effect, whether it proves disruptive to supply chains or a more subtle influence over the course of the year.

Some hospitality operators may choose to embrace Brexit, by listing more British brands and locally produced goods on their menus.

Others may choose a different route, focusing more on the continued availability of continental European brands to reassure customers that despite Brexit, their favourite beer will still be there when they want it.

A new normal?

It’s hard to know exactly what the post-pandemic period will look like, and one ‘trend’ for this year is its unpredictability.

By preparing for every eventuality, with a carefully curated food and drink menu, card payment capabilities, and broad entertainment such as pub pool tables, quiz machines, fruit machines and jukeboxes, you can make sure your venue is the first choice for new customers.

As 2021 draws to a close and we put COVID-19 behind us for good, this gives you the best chance to retain as many of those customers as you can, for an even more prosperous 2022 and beyond.

We wish our customers good health and if you’re preparing your venue for entertainment, call Manco Automatics on 0161 870 7777 and we’ll be happy to help.

Fruit machines and slot machines: What’s the difference?

In the UK, the terms ‘fruit machines’ and ‘slot machines’ are often used interchangeably. But there are some differences between the two.

Here are some of the main ways fruit machines and slot machines are different from each other, and why their names can also be misleading at times.

Slot machines

First of all, let’s think about slot machines. By definition, these are coin-operated machines and the name comes from the slot into which coins are dropped to buy a game.

By this definition, slot machines don’t just include fruit machines and quiz machines, but also everything from snack vending machines to coin-op kiddie rides outside your local supermarket.

It’s also worth noting that modern slot machines might not have a slot at all, as an increasing number have a note feeder for paper/polymer banknotes or a contactless card reader for cashless payments.

Fruit machines

Fruit machines are a particular subcategory of slot machines and include the familiar pub fruit machines most people have seen many times before.

The defining characteristic here is the system of symbols used on a pub fruit machine’s reels, which usually includes cherries, oranges, watermelons and plums, plus a few non-fruit images like bells and lucky 7s.

But it’s not necessary for any fruit to be used. You might see slot machines with cartoon characters, cops and robbers or even your favourite soap stars’ faces in place of the plums and cherries.

Slot machines vs. fruit machines

A more detailed definition that highlights the difference between slot machines and fruit machines is as follows:

  • Slot machines are usually very simple and may have a single push-button operation, similar to that of early one-man bandits.
  • Fruit machines are usually more complicated, with extra options like hold, nudge, gamble and feature boards.

This is a rule of thumb, and there are plenty of exceptions. But it’s useful to keep it in mind when trying to tell the difference between slot machines and fruit machines.

Legal definition of slot machines and fruit machines

In terms of UK law, there’s little difference between ‘slot machines’ and ‘fruit machines’. The Gambling Commission uses both terms to refer to Category A Gaming Machines:

“Most gaming machines are of the reel-based type, also known as fruit, slot, or jackpot machines.”

If you’re thinking of installing pub fruit machines or other slot machines on your premises and you’d like to know more about the rules that apply to different types of slot machines, contact Manco today on 0161 870 7777 and we’ll be happy to help.