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News Report Page 15 of 17
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Discerning diners see a tasty future for tech in restaurants

FUSSY customers would be happy for more technology to be used by restaurants and bars if it meant they didn't have to queue to be served, a survey has revealed. But customers' attitude to a more technology driven approach to dining and eating out differs markedly across the UK with peak popularity in the south of the country.

The survey, commissioned by hospitality technology specialist ePOS Hybrid, found people in the East Midlands were less fussed about queuing and embracing tech to improve their dining experience; with only 18% in support compared with a 28% national average. But neighbouring West Midlands diners were much more switched on to the use of tech with 30% agreeing it would be a good thing.

Sheffield, which is home to 5 restaurants featured in the prestigious Michelin Guide, was the City with the lowest interest in tech benefits, with almost 20% of those surveyed saying they approved.

The Welsh appeared to be the nation who favoured the use of tech, with 35.06% of those surveyed in Cardiff approving, while nationally 35% in Wales gave the thumbs up. Brighton residents were the UK's highest scoring, giving a resounding 36% approval.

The survey, Restaurants and Bars of the Future, spoke to more than 2000 people and was commissioned by ePOS Hybrid, a leading provider of point-of-sale and digital ordering technology.

Andrew Gibbon, Head of Growth at ePOS Hybrid, said:- "Tech has already revolutionised the dining and hospitality sector and is here to stay, with many more emerging technologies certain to impact the way we socialise and enjoy our downtime. The survey results are surprising in that Sheffield, with a thriving dining scene, was found to be the lowest ranking in levels of interest in how technology can add benefit to our restaurant and bar experiences. However, it is no surprise to find that Cardiff is top of the league on this count as the City is carving out a reputation as one of the hottest and fastest growing tech hubs in the UK."

The North South pattern was mirrored when those surveyed were asked if receiving deals information specifically tailored to them would improve their dining experience.

The North East was the lowest scoring Region with only 20% saying they would like this; the same figure as Newcastle; compared to a national average of 27%. But again, Cardiffians and the Welsh were keen to benefit from targeted deal offers with approvals of 35% and 33%, respectively. Further South, Plymouth residents proved to be the UK's most eager deal seekers with a 37% approval rate.

Andrew Gibbon added:- "Consumers are always looking at new ways they can get a discount code or take advantage of special offers, especially in the current economic environment. Businesses using tech to offer highly tailored discounts based on user behaviour or preferences, is improving the experience for both business and customer. Newcastle is a vibrant, energetic City with a huge and diverse dining and entertainment scene and it was surprising to find savvy Geordies were the least likely to take advantage of deal information which could have been put their way. In Cardiff they seem more careful, and in Wales generally, the survey shows they would welcome specific deal offers, but again it is Plymouth residents who are most partial to targeted offers. Our survey has provided an interesting insight into the mindset of diners and drinkers the width and breadth of the UK and provides plenty of food for thought as to how restaurants of the future can adapt to better engage with customers, increase footfall, and improve the customer experience."

With climate change on everyone's agenda, those surveyed surprisingly seemed less concerned about the overall sustainability of restaurants or a venue's carbon footprint across its supply chain. Indeed, only 23% of those surveyed said it would be a positive factor in improving their dining experience.

Again, the survey showed this scored less favourably with those living in the North, with Yorkshire/Humber recording the lowest interest at 14% and Leeds was identified as the City with least concerns (13%), closely followed by Nottingham on 14%.

Plymouth residents were the most green minded with 36% - 14% above the national average; saying they would support outlets which are working on being more energy efficient, and this was echoed Regionally with a 27% approval rate in the South West.

However, despite last year's COP26 in Glasgow and growing environmental awareness, sustainability issues such as carbon footprint are not particularly influential in consumers' decisions on where to eat out.

For more information about ePOS Hybrid and to download the full "Restaurants and Bars of the Future" report, visit:-

Linzi Saunders solo exhibition:- 'RISE'

SANDGROUNDERS will have the opportunity to experience the unique artwork of Crosby artist, Linzi Saunders in her forthcoming solo exhibition at Southport Contemporary Arts. There will be in excess of forty mixed media artworks from Linzi who works predominantly on wood and canvas, preferring to paint with acrylics rather than oils because of their lower impact on the natural world. With an innate love for colour and texture, she often incorporates fabrics, recycled items and natural materials into her intricate imagery.

Linzi commented that:- "I will be presenting a varied collection of my work that will offer a sense of the differing energies that can be tapped into in the world around us, if only we can be free enough from the chatter of the mind to notice and really feel these forces at work. My hope is that when viewing my work people are really able to feel the energy within each piece of art. Despite being classed as inanimate objects, each piece really does have a 'life' of it's own."

Based on her own life journey, Linzi's pieces often contain multiple layers, representing the vibrating dynamisms and oscillating complexities of psychoanalytic theory. By weaving together the internal with the external worlds, Linzi creates work that is constantly fuelled by her own fascination with the layered complexities of the human psyche, the collective unconscious and the natural world.

Linzi said:- "I'm always tapping in the subtle energies within my own inner world and the world around me, including those that are exchanged within relationships between people that mostly happen without conscious processing. I often represent these energies within the textures that occupy much of my work and they feed into the layering approach that is linked to the multi-faceted, complex layers of the human psyche."

Inspired by eclectic spiritual teachings, Linzi is constantly aiming to strip back these layers within herself through each creation.

Linzi added:- "As a homeopathic and shamanic practitioner I have an animistic perception of life and so see artwork as having a life of its own. I believe it's this life energy that 'speaks' to us when we are drawn to a particular piece of work. Due to this I like to infuse as much positive energy into my work as possible, often beginning my 1st layers with positive statements, affirmations, mantras, poems etc, or my work may openly include a written message."

Although Linzi was always a creative child, there was little opportunity to express her artistic temperament during her formative education. However, the combination of personal trauma and a series of encounters as a counselling therapist later in life changed all that. Linzi explained:- "Not long after entering my 40's, at the end of yet another academic training course to improve my skills as a counselor, my whole world came to an abrupt halt. I was completely burnt out and barely had any energy to tend to the most basic tasks. I was also in lot of physical pain, suffering from anxiety and subsequently diagnosed with fibromyalgia."

However Linzi's reunion with her love of creating aided her recovery and she believes that much of her healing has resulted from her artistic journey. This solo exhibition is an opportunity to experience Linzi's extremely original artworks. Linzi concluded:- "Rise and the related Buddha images were born out of the intensity of the energies at play during our lockdown experiences. The fear based culture that intensified at this time compelled me to dive deeply inwards to connect with levels of serenity that could not be found in the external world of media coverage and mass hysteria. These images represent a level being that can be accessed at all times, regardless of environmental influences. They serve as a reminder to visit this place of being on a regular basis in order to function optimally as a compassionate and connected human being rather than 1 driven by differences and divides."

The exhibition runs from Tuesday to Saturday, both weeks, and Linzi will be at the gallery herself on the afternoons of:- 3 May, 5 May, 10 May, 11 May and 14 May 2022. There are facemasks and hand sanitizers available at the ArtHouse should visitors wish to use them.

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