Stadiums are not just for sport – they are entertainment precincts

From sports to entertainment hubs – how the modern stadium is transforming.

Simple sports venues are now multi-faceted entertainment precincts.
Our expert investigates the top trends stadiums are adopting to attract more patronage.
By Rob Clifford

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Each city has at least one – an iconic sports stadium that over decades has become a much loved beacon of hope for sports fans of all descriptions.

But what was once simply a venue for cricket, footy, soccer or athletics is now so much more. Features like bars, entertainment hubs, dining, memorabilia, museums and corporate hospitality are fast becoming permanent fixtures of sports stadiums across Australia and the world. Our MD Rob Clifford explores the trends that modern stadiums are now adopting to attract sports fans and retain more share of their entertainment dollar.

Trend # 1: Range of accessible experiences for members

There needs to be a range of hospitality experiences for members to ensure they continue to engage with the stadium on an ongoing basis. Members’ facilities must range from formal to casual, reserved to ad hoc and ensure that all products are perceived to be a value proposition.

Traditional members’ hospitality delivered value via a discount for members. This is no longer the key value. Exclusive areas and dining privileges are now a key driver in members’ areas.

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Food trends for 2016: top six predictions

What’s going to be hot on restaurant menus next year?
Our top six predictions for the next big thing in restaurant dining for 2016
By Rob Clifford

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The food business moves fast. What’s hot and fresh this year can quickly become dated and dull the next. The very best chefs and restaurant owners are on top of consumer food trends—and setting the agenda for what we’re all be eating next year.

Working with many of Australia’s top chefs and restaurant owners has given me unique insight into the changing landscape of the Australian restaurant scene – these are my top six predictions for 2016 dining.

Food trend #1: value for money

Value for money is priority number on for any successful dining experience, but how can it be done? With diners looking for the very best in produce as well as value, this can be a tricky balance to get right.

Achieving value for money doesn’t always mean the highest quality, or selling expensive items cheaply to bring in customers – that’s disastrous in the long run. Just like a stylish dresser might combine designer labels with department store fashions, so too must the restaurant know where to invest and where to be economical. Planning and procurement processes need to be tight to deliver the best value for money.

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Food trend #2: casual dining

The shift towards more relaxed, informal eating will continue unabated next year. No need for linen tablecloths, fine stemware or buttoned up waiters. But customers do expect to see an effort—and personality. Customers still demand a memorable dining experience, and they prefer the energy and expense to be invested into the food, wine and ambience instead of the fancy trimmings.

How to create that unique experience that diners expect? Think quirky signage to give diners a laugh, magazine-worthy design and fittings, and quirky menu items (like freakshakes) that inspire customers to post on Instagram.

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Café design: five common mistakes to avoid

Don’t make these café design mistakes!
Get your interior design right with our expert tips and café design ideas.
By Rob Clifford

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It’s an exciting time: planning the start of your new (or refurbished) café. The decisions you make at this stage that will have crucial ramifications for your business.

I’ve worked with countless restaurants and cafés that have spent thousands on design and interiors only to later realise they made plenty of simple errors that proved costly to fix later. It’s important to get these decisions right at the onset.

Café design mistake #1: too much space

Having an over-long service counter and large display cabinet produces food waste and increases service labour coverage. Staff tend to hide behind larger counters so don’t give them too much space to congregate unnecessarily. Similarly, a large empty dining space is off-putting for consumers. A few smaller breakout spaces can make a larger space more inviting.

Your counter area should be relative to your business levels, which can be very difficult to estimate before you open. However, understanding the needs of your target market can help. Are they busy commuters wanting to grab a coffee and dash? Or parents needing highchairs and lingering over coffee? Having a strategic knowledge – not a guess – will help you find the right ideas for your café interior design.

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