After a year of unprecedented change with social trends accelerated by the global pandemic, we caught up with SHUFL Germany Country Manager, Alexander Sternadl to get his take on the future of the German hospitality scene.
At SHUFL we partner with some of the most dynamic, market-leading hospitality operators in the world, giving us invaluable insight into social trends across multiple international markets coupled with our own in-house local experts.
Says Alex, “Right now, there aren’t many ‘mixed-concept’ venues for socialising in Germany. In general, you go to a restaurant to eat, a bar to drink, and a nightclub to dance. Leisure and activity destinations such as bowling alleys exist but they are fairly traditional and remain a place to take the kids on a rainy afternoon.
“It’s well known that trends from the UK usually make their way over here, so I think the rise of competitive socialising in Germany is inevitable. Coupled with the fact that consumers are eager to reconnect and enjoy new premium experiences together after the Covid lockdowns, this will only accelerate the evolution of the leisure market here. As with most new trends, we’ll see next-generation competitive socialising operators with a premium eat, drink play offer start to pop-up in the big cities such as Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne. These will be a mix of independent German operators and established competitive socialising brands looking to expand into Europe.”
Often the first to see potential in a market, SHUFL partner BrewDog set up its European home at DogTap Berlin in August 2019. Based outside of central Berlin, DogTap is an experiential-led destination complete with brewery, a 2,500m2 tap room and an epic 4,000m2 beer garden. Visitors can learn more about beer at the beer school, enjoy a gig or let some pucks fly on five of our 22ft Olympic-sized shuffleboards. There’s also mini-golf and Duckpin bowling.
Says Alex, “It’s the ultimate events space for a country that prides itself on its beer culture, appealing to couples, small groups, wedding parties and corporates alike with its one-stop shop offering beer, food and entertainment all under one roof. In the context of Covid-19, this kind of venue also has the advantage of space and can be easily managed when it comes to keeping customers safe.
“We see this kind of experiential-led venue really taking off as local and International operators recognise the potential of the German market for a mixed-concept offer and follow in the footsteps of BrewDog and UK competitive socialising specialists such as Roxy Ball Room, Boom: Battle Bar, Lane 7, Swingers and Puttshack. These guys are setting the bar for the eat, drink, play concept, fulfilling consumer demand and experiencing fast growth.”
It’s not only in the UK where we’re seeing a surge in the trend for customer-first experiences offering fun, memorable nights out but also in Scandinavian countries where shuffleboard is already well established. Despite the challenges of the last year, there are exciting times ahead for the hospitality market.
Germany – we’re coming for you!
Get in touch with Alex to find out how a SHUFL table could unlock new business opportunities by delivering an experience-led offer.