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Lifestyle and WellbeingThe Growing Popularity of BBQ Garden Parties - A COVID-Inspired Trend

The Growing Popularity of BBQ Garden Parties – A COVID-Inspired Trend

The tradition of the Great British BBQ has undergone a renaissance, with an increasing number of party planners opting for the comfort of their own back gardens instead of expensive venues and restaurant reservations.

During the COVID-19 summers, socializing compromises became the norm, and while many trends faded away as life returned to normal, the BBQ garden party has shown surprising staying power. Initially, garden-party gatherings with hired BBQ chefs were a necessity for social distancing. However, according to research from Poptop, they have now become one of the UK’s biggest party trends.

The Rise of BBQ Catering

Data from Poptop, a leading party planning platform, reveals a significant and sustained increase in BBQ caterers. What was once a niche catering option has now become one of the most popular party categories of 2023, with BBQ chefs receiving three times more bookings compared to 2019. As social distancing measures fade away, the question arises: why do BBQ garden parties continue to be so popular?

The “Cost of Living” Effect

One possible reason is the ongoing financial strain on families. Rising inflation has led to a 10% drop in restaurant reservations, as reported by dining experts OpenTable. Additionally, private party venue hire prices have increased due to rising utility and running costs. Party planners are seeking ways to create memorable experiences for their loved ones without breaking the bank. Hosting a professionally staffed BBQ in one’s own outdoor space offers significant savings on venue, bar, and catering hire while maintaining the sense of ceremony and occasion found in milestone events such as birthdays and anniversaries.

Societal and Cultural Shifts

Shared experiences over the past few years have contributed to the popularity of BBQ garden parties. Spending quality time with family in the comfort of one’s home became a cherished tradition during lockdowns, one that many wanted to continue even after restrictions were lifted. Furthermore, people invested in their gardens and outdoor spaces during the summers of 2020 and 2021, making it natural for them to want to enjoy these areas with friends and family.

Impact on the Market

Food professionals have recognized these shifting party planning patterns, resulting in a surge of new party services entering the market. As BBQ catered events gain popularity, caterers are diversifying their offerings to stand out. This has led to an incredible array of unique party services, including Brazilian churrasco BBQ, American-style rib shacks, Keralan cuisine cooked on open fires, Hawaiian luau-inspired catering, and much more. The choices seem endless.

The boom extends beyond catering options. Party tents, mobile bars, and children’s entertainment have all experienced a significant increase in popularity as the BBQ-party fever grips the UK private party scene. This trend shows no sign of slowing down.

“COVID restrictions disrupted parties significantly, but they also sparked numerous novel party ideas. People realized they could have higher-quality food and entertainment in their backyards or gardens instead of hiring function rooms. This led to significant growth in outdoor activities such as party tents, outdoor mobile bars, and, of course, BBQs, which have become essential for summer parties.” – Eugene Shestopal, CEO, Poptop.

“We witnessed an unprecedented demand for BBQ last year, and despite the cost of living crises, we continue to see even greater demand this summer. This inspires me to work on new recipes, sauces, and entertainment ideas, ensuring that every party is unique and special.” – Simon James, founder of The Rib Rack BBQ Company.

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
With over 20 years of experience in the field SEO and digital marketing, Sam Allcock is a highly regarded entrepreneur. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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