22 | Hospitality Today | to Spring Feb / March 2017 2017 Appealing especially those who are looking for a drink and some light bites, the bar menu will feature delightful small plates such as spiced monkfish cheeks (£9), girolle mushroom and black truffle arancini (£9) to accompany an innovative cocktail menu. The Grab & Go service will run seamlessly throughout the day, opening at 8am every weekday morning (9am at the weekends), and offering a breakfast menu complete with freshly baked pastries and breads, homemade preserves and comforting cooked breakfasts. Continuing through to lunch, a superb selection of freshly made sandwiches, salads and decadent cakes will be available. Oliver Peyton, founder of Peyton and Byrne, said “We are delighted to be re-opening The National Café and we look forward to welcoming guests, whatever their preference - through the door for casual dining, lunch or dinner in the restaurant or a drink at our bar. Whether visiting an exhibition at the National Gallery, looking to enjoy a pre-theatre menu or holding a bespoke event, the new National Café provides a stunning setting.” Young diners influenced by social media Two thirds of consumers (66%) will visit a restaurant’s social media pages before eating out, according to HGEM. According to its latest research, 58% of millennials were found to go to a restaurant’s social media pages before every visit or ahead of the majority of their visits, with 53% of 56– 65 year olds following this pattern, reinforcing that social media audiences extend beyond ‘Generation Y’. When questioned as to why they had visited a restaurant’s social channels, almost one third of all respondents (30%) said they were looking for menu information, while almost a quarter (22%) were seeking customer reviews, highlighting the effect these platforms can have on a customer’s decision making process. Although on-site conversations with staff were deemed to be more important than social media conversations for 62% of consumers, more than one third (34%) of those surveyed believed social media interactions to be an equally important part of the guest experience. With this figure rising to 43% amongst the millennial audience, the study highlights the demand for consistent communications between consumer and operator, online and offline. The research dug deeper to look at what content was most appealing to consumers when visiting a site’s social media page. Offers and promotions proved the most popular type of content, followed by photos, events and competitions. Facebook proved the most widely used platform - almost two thirds (64%) of diners chose the world’s largest social media network as their chosen channel for interacting with restaurants. Reflecting on the results, Steven Pike, managing director of HGEM, commented: “We know that social media is an incredibly powerful tool for operators to monitor customer feedback and maintain a seamless guest experience, however the results emphasise the influence that such platforms have over what drives diners to visit a venue in the first instance.