The UK's top 10 branded restaurants (by outlets) saw a combined decline of 0.8% in the total number of outlets in 2022 according to the Operator Data Index Quarterly Report. This is a slowdown from the decline we saw in 2021 but nevertheless the need to innovate and attract non-traditional custom remains crucial for survival. 

The MCA detail the varying initiatives and approaches being taken by a number of these operators which include loyalty platforms, delivery expansion, cook-at-home ranges and in restaurant digital innovation like service robots and the continuing development of pay/order at the table technology.

We have seen now that the most successful omnichannel growth comes from businesses that seek not simply to interact with customers through multiple channels but rather to offer a truly joined up and seamless experience wherever and whenever that experience takes place. Rather than concocting a host of different ways that the business can connect with the customer the consideration needs to be - how can the customer's experience be improved at each stage? 

Omnichannel development that is focused on improving the customer journey throws up a host of legal considerations most pertinently the use of personal data to identify and personalise the customer's experience but also confidentiality, ownership and protection of new tech and IP, changing uses of premises, advertising regulation, distance selling and customer verification to name a few. These considerations, while not prohibitive, need to be well thought out in order to ensure the protection of the relevant innovation and the reputation of the evolving brand. Our experience tells us that getting legal advisers in early to help with the strategic planning around omnichannel development will save time and resource in the long run.