What will be the future of the restaurant industry after the pandemic?

Governments are still trying to control the spread of the coronavirus and the alarm surrounding it. A lot of businesses are still operational now that they know how to manage crowd control, sanitation practices. Restaurateurs however find themselves isolated on the wrong side of lockdown measures. The reason is simple, people don’t want to go to an eatery that is filled with people as it violates social distancing norms and puts everyone at risk. Even with this issue that directly impacts their overall revenue stream, there is still hope for the future of the restaurant industry.      

Restaurateurs need to focus on one priority, and that’s to secure the safety of the workers and the guests. This one is very easy to secure as restaurants have now begun insisting on pre-booking reservations, maintaining spaces between each guest, and wearing protective gear. The next priority is to develop proactive strategies that could counter lowering business.

Given out here are some tips, strategies that could become the future of the restaurant industry; that are being followed by restaurants to minimize revenue dips and to create new revenue streams wherever it is possible. The aims behind such business practices entail streamlining operations temporarily, accepting guests that dine in, promotional initiatives that really drive revenue. In these times, there are many chances for leveraging and strengthening loyal customers. The following that you do have could aid you in carrying out your business during uncertain times.   

How are restaurants responding to their business now?

Experts and researchers aren’t sure how the global ‘new normal’ condition will last. They expect that warmer temperatures during the summer will slow the spread of the virus, giving us enough time to secure some vaccines. As this battle on the medical science frontier continues, everyone else needs to be prepared for a bleak future of restaurant industry. That preparation includes preventative measures for minimizing revenue hits and the proactive initiatives that drive incremental growth.

Turning your restaurant into a safe spot for guests

Keeping the location as clean as possible is an approach that has been ramped up during the pandemic. The EPA organization has listed out several disinfectants, cleaning materials that can effectively kill traces of the SARS-CoV-2. They have described that regularsoapsare effective here because they can break through the oily membrane surrounding thevirus.

Special attention has to be given to the surfaces, items that customers are likely to touch such as door handles, switches, tables, chairs, cutlery, drinkware, etc. The team that will need to handle multiple items inside the food preparation area, serving the guests, swiping cards, handling cash, need to be provided withantibacterial gloves, masks. One simpler choice here is to encourage guests to gocashless and using digital wallets, cards, etc.

Some restaurants that have a heavier footfall even now are opting for professional cleanings of the premises daily to keep everythingdisinfected. They even greet guests with a temperature check device and spray-on hand sanitizer. After a guest leaves, the waiters wipe down the chairs and tables and ready the table withdisinfectant napkins.  

Rethink your reservation policies

Plan on boosting your overbooking to cope up with reduced walk-in rates in the future of restaurant industry. As you must be seeing around you, guests are now less eager to just walk in. They are taking the precaution of booking in advance. In response to this new dining behavior that could reshape the future of the restaurant industry, you could offer potential guests with more flexibility when booking. This is a good time to consider more third-party booking channels to make it easier for people to find your restaurant and book accordingly.

To encourage more reservations, you could reassure guests of precautions being undertaken by your team; or offer promotions when they reserve a table at your establishment like a drink, loyalty rewards,complimentary appetizers, etc. 

If you hold a cancellation fee on your reservations; consider waiving it so that you don’t discourage any new reservations coming in. To confirm a cancellation, you could call to communicate with guests about whether they have a change in their dining plans.      

Identifying cost savings opportunities

Use the POS data for a more accurate measure of food cost savings. This measure could go a long way in helping determine the amount of food supplies that need to be ordered. Yourpurchasing via the POS can be narrowed down to two factors: the menu items that can betemporarily eliminated are the ones that aren’t ordered for frequently, and the meals that loyal guests prefer and are made more often.   

Also read: Food Supply Chains and Covid-19 Impacts and Policy Lessons

Partnering with other restaurants in your vicinity

Certain smaller, nice restaurants are partnering up with each other to share resources, supplies, staff,kitchen space, etc.  

Follow up on stimulus packages

Several governments are stepping in with fiscal stimuli to promote the well-being of small businesses. Details and availability of such plans vary depending on the region you’re located in. It is also dependent on whether your establishment is eligible for the same or not.

Invest in and reshape your marketing

To maintain a steady flow of traffic, rely onsocial media, events, and special events; for example, if diners are no longer interested in frequent dining, they may be interested in eating out during events like Passover, Easter, Graduation celebrationsMother’s Day, etc.

Market your dining establishment around these events and inform all that you meet sanitation requirements.Use social media to float these ideas knowing that everyone at home will access their devices and their social media accounts.

The future of the restaurant industry involves rethinking marketing plans too: for example, creating promotion drives centered around working from home or coworking. There are several ways to approach this: you could transform your restaurant into a coworking space fitted with an internet facility. Of course, people may only feel comfortable stepping out during the lunch break. You could develop a home delivery system, where customers enjoy special promotions when they order from your restaurant, bringing the fine-dining experience to their homes.  

Customers and restaurant owners have noted that stores have reduced groceries. People are interested in cooking at home to save on money but are tired of preparing the same food every time. You could start a cooking class in your eatery hosted by a noted chef who could inspire loyal customers with exciting, creative dishes using staples that all have at home.  

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