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Introducing Lightspeed’s Hospitality Report 2024

Introducing Lightspeed’s Hospitality Report 2024

Lightspeed’s Hospitality Insights and Dining Dynamics Report has revealed and analysed the upcoming trends, diner preferences, and the plans Australian bars, restaurants, and hotels have for 2024.

Sustainability is on the menu for Australian hospitality businesses and diners, with greener food options and initiatives seen as key ingredients. So much so that 85% of Australian hospitality businesses believe implementing environmentally friendly initiatives will attract more customers. This point of view is shared by Australian consumers, with 34% stating that they want to see more sustainable food sourcing from bars, cafes, and restaurants. Wide menu choices are going to be important, especially options that cater to alternative diets.

The cost of living crisis will continue to impact both businesses and diners, with menu prices rising and tipping culture remaining low. 

Technology can help reduce the financial burden on operators with many planning to use it to save money on overheads, improve customer service, and overall operational efficiency. We’ll be diving deeper into these topics in the report and what they may mean for hospitality businesses like yours in the year ahead. 

Some of the key areas we’ve identified are:

Want a deeper dive into what is to come in 2024?

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The Australian dining landscape

We all know that Aussies love to dine and drink out. We’ve taken a closer look at what this will look like for 2024, breaking down the dining demographics to see the habits of each gender and age group when they head out.

There’s some interesting data when it comes to the financial side of things too, with a focus on the frequency of dining out or ordering takeaway and how much of each demographic’s income is spent.

The data we’ve gathered shows some definite trends in these key areas which I think will prove vital to identifying what your customers’ dining habits will look like in 2024.

Speaking of trends:

Dining trends for 2024

Within this section, we explore popular dining trends in 2023, accompanied by a forecast for the anticipated developments in 2024 with the end goal being a dual perspective of the predictions of hospitality operators vs the expectations of the dining public. It paints a picture of where each side aligns and, sometimes unexpectedly, diverges.

People want sustainability

One of the areas where both hospitality business owners and diners were aligned was sustainability. Hospitality business owners put sustainability as their 2nd most desired trend to implement in 2024, with 30% of businesses looking to implement more sustainable practices in the coming year. Diners put sustainability at the top of the trends they would like to see venues implement with 34% seeing this as their number 1 priority.

This comes as no surprise as hospitality operators unanimously agreed that sustainable food sourcing, such as using local or seasonal ingredients, was the most popular menu trend seen amongst diners in 2023 and they will be looking to capitalise on that in 2024.

The plant-based/bottomless drinks disconnect

This is where somewhat of a disconnect occurs between the trends that hospitality operators are implementing this year and the trends that diners would like to see implemented, particularly in the areas of vegan or plant-based menu items and bottomless drinks.

Financial shifts

With the cost of goods rising for hospitality operators mirroring a cost of living crisis, finance, it seems, will be at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to making decisions about ingredients or dining out.

Coping with inflation

We look into the adjustments that hospitality operators implemented to cope with inflation and study which of these proved popular with different venue types throughout the hospitality industry.

“Only 1% of respondents said that inflation has not impacted their business.”

We also sought to find out whether hospitality operators have noticed changes in their customer’s spending habits compared to previous years.

Tipping patterns

We’ve taken a deep dive into the tipping patterns of diners: how much on average they tip, which demographics tipped more or less and how a diner’s income affects tipping.

of customers tipped 11%-25% more in 2023 when compared to 2022.”


We asked hospitality operators about their surcharging practices and also sought to gauge how the dining public feels about venues passing on some of their costs to the customer via a surcharge.

Technology & the emergence of AI

We surveyed areas around how technology can save time and lower costs for an operator, as well as some of the barriers they see when it comes to implementing new tech into their workflow.

We also touched on the emerging field of AI and gauged whether or not hospitality operators see it as something they’re likely to leverage in 2024 with 91% of operators already leveraging AI in some capacity in their business operations.


Tough economic conditions mean venues must cater to the ever-changing needs of consumers. Crucially, this is not just from a product or service standpoint but factors such as sustainability initiatives, which will play a key role in attracting and retaining customers. Serving excellent food and drink is important, but businesses must not underestimate the wider ethical practices that today’s customers judge a venue on. As the cost of produce and supplies remains higher than in previous years, implementing such processes will be a balancing act for bars, hotels, and restaurants. 

However, with the use of AI already utilised by the majority in the industry and other technologies such as POS helping vendors save time and resources, a shift to further tech adoption will help reduce costs and free up hospitality leaders to implement what customers are expecting from them. 

As long as they achieve that, 2024 will be a roaring success for the Australian industry.

About the author

Andrew Fraser is the Managing Director for Lightspeed in APAC, overseeing our all-in-one commerce platform that helps businesses simplify, scale, and provide top-notch customer experiences. Formerly the Senior Vice President in Lightspeed’s retail division, he’s now leading the joint charge for retail and hospitality in the region.

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