Is the restaurant business really drowning since the hit of COVID-19? The novel coronavirus has transformed customer behavior around the world. Will the restaurant industry really survive this intense transformation or sink? If you are a restaurateur or thinking to step into this industry, you would probably be wondering that.
The future of restaurant industry after Covid-19, certainly wouldn’t be the same. The restaurants are different now – even their strategies and survival plans. Strenuous and forced adjustments are on the way for the food industry. There will be alterations, strategies to satisfy new clients, fulfilling high expectations of the customers, and a lot more.
But the question is how exactly the restaurants will look like. What really is the future of restaurant industry after COVID-19? However, there is no joint or common blueprint for the future of the restaurant after COvid-19. The concept will vary, and so will the restaurants have to.
Pre-Covid-19, the restaurants were all about chilling, relaxing, and socializing. So, the strategies were built around such an audience. Now, the consumer’s preferences have changed. Customers are not about socializing now, they want safety, they are maintaining social distancing, and the restaurants will have to adjust as per their needs.
Significant behavioral changes can be seen in the customers due to COVID-19. Restaurants are comprehending this behavioral change and following the ‘safety-first’ mantra to keep their customers safe. We can expect a no-touching order system, simple and no-touching payment options, simple menus, a safe seating system, and much more. Hence, the restaurant industry needs to be at their toes constantly to keep their customers safe when eating at their places.
Restaurants are Advancing – The Good News
For the starters, restaurants have adapted curbside pickup, outdoor dining, and bettered online food ordering system. But is this ‘new normal’ really safe for the customers?
Time will decide that – the panic in customers is yet to vanish. It has started to fade away, but it’s still there. What restaurateurs might have learned during this time is that even the best of the strategies would fail, if such a current scenario occurs.
The need of the hour is to fit into the current scenario – for now, it’s the COVID-19. And, that’s not the end, restaurateurs need to equip with flexible strategies to survive the situation.
Mobile food ordering apps are here for the utmost ease of panicked customers. What these mobile food ordering apps have done for the restaurant industry would possibly haven’t been done in any other way. Just imagine, how would we have survived such a pandemic, if no mobile food ordering apps were there to serve. It would have been almost next to impossible to enjoy our favorite food, without it.
Future of the Restaurants Industry Covid-19 – The Essential Components
There are a few, very essential, components that have to be addressed when knowing about the ‘future of restaurant industry after COVID-19’
Safe Seating to Adjust Social Distancing
No more squeezing customers in the restaurants. And, that’s the first essential component that restaurateurs need to understand. For business and profits sake, crowding the restaurants would not be appreciated anymore. As of now, some restaurants are following the 50% customer ratio, while some others are still not ready to open. However, the need of the hour is to maintain ‘safe and creative’ seating, following which we can expect better restaurants for the customers.
Restaurants are restricting the customers to sit along. There is a gap of at least one seat to maintain social distancing. For that, dividers need to be installed between the seats for utmost safety. Petite booths will be created for small gatherings and friends to hang out in the restaurants now. The focus is on creating a distant ‘outside seating’ in almost every restaurant for maintaining the social distancing and serving the customers.
No Touching Policy
The utmost safety during Covid-19 can be maintained when everything is ‘hands-free.’ Minimum touching is highly appreciated by the customers, and in the future of restaurant industry after Covid-19, we can only see customers preferring such restaurants with ‘minimum touching policy. As per this policy, everything will be hands-free, including touching doors, handles, toilet flush button, light buttons, trash bin, menus, or anything else that you see in the restaurants. The future of the restaurants is all about ‘no-touch solutions,’ which will help in accelerating the safety of the customers and the restaurateurs.
Restaurants will have to work on delivering ‘helpful behavior’ to the customers. They are expecting more humble staff now. Earlier, it wouldn’t have been so difficult to sustain customers, or even ‘not so friendly’ attitude worked, but now, if the restaurant staff and members are not humble towards the guest, they are probably digging the hole of downfall for themselves. The future of restaurant industry after Covid-19 is predicted to much more than just serving, it is even how well you treat the customers.
Another reason why they are expecting too much humbleness or a comfy environment is that they have been in the lockdown. Not everyone has become used to, or those who have are irritated with this ‘new normal’ of work-from-home or stay home rule. Hence, these customers are finding peace and humbleness in restaurants. And, if you do that well, probably the future of restaurants is yours.
Proper Sanitization & Hygiene
There is a constant fear amongst the people, fear of being infected and infecting someone else further. And, it seems this fear will not go so soon; however, it has started to fade a bit. Restaurants in the future, now, and even after Covid-19 will have to continue soothing this fear. They will have to comfort customers that ‘utmost care is taken to maintain the safety measures’ for the safety of the restaurant visitors.
The sanitization and hygiene of the restaurants have to be proper so that there are no reasons customers feel unsafe while being in your restaurant. Demonstrating how hygiene protocols are followed by the restaurants, as that would help them in knowing exactly how things are moving at your place. Separate staff will be maintained to sanitize the door handles, tables, menus, and everything else available in the restaurant.
Technology utilization has been in the industry for a while now, and it will continue to be there, as long as humans exist. Now, during the COVID-19, and even after, there will be the implementation of technology. Restaurants will need to introduce (if haven’t already), the use of digital menus or maybe, app-based ordering system for the ultimate safe food delivery. And, it is not just for the restaurants, even the customers will have to follow ‘digital payment’ modes for maintaining the utmost safety in the restaurants.
Customers are mostly worried about how their food is cooked, right. An in-app live streaming feature can be the best thing you can do to calm customer’s anxiety about their food being cooked safely or not. That will not only help them in knowing how well their food is being cooked but also give them a clear picture of whether they can completely rely on such restaurants for food or not.
Cut Down the Costs
One of the most expected trends in the future of restaurant industry after Covid-19 will be a reduction in the costs. The reduced costs will help in getting a few more customers too. keeping this pandemic in mind, restaurateurs will have to cut off options like a buffet, and opt for much more secure and safe option like ‘pre-plated dishes,’ ‘apt gap between the seats,’ and making available everything on the table rather than giving the customers enough space for walking around.
Restaurants in the future will have to reduce costs and revisit the menu for allowing more customers in. Menus were so lengthy earlier, which will now have to be cut down shorter. It has to be specific, shorter, crispier for boosting local dishes, maybe, or the seasonal stuff. Focus more on food that helps in building the immunity of the customers, and they will probably stick to your restaurants now, and even after Covid-19.
Adequate Handwashing Stations
No-touching handwashing stations will be available for the customers in the future. The future of restaurant industry after Covid-19 is about incorporating enough handwashing stations. And, that’s not enough, sufficient sanitizers along with an adequate supply of the same will help customers in knowing that they are being taken care of.
Restaurants with no such facilities or even the poor quality will perhaps lose in the game, and the other one will certainly win. Staff needs to understand the ‘sanitization maintenance’ to maintain a safe environment for the customers, which includes adequate handwashing stations, liquid soaps, sanitizers, masks, and other safety equipment available in the restaurants for better business.
Air Quality Check
Restaurateurs will probably have to keep a constant check on the air quality inside the restaurants. Since most of the restaurants circulate both cold and hot air via the ductwork, it is mandatory to clean the air, as soon as it is required. That’s what will make restaurants cleaner and safer for the customers. The air quality has to be maintained, as we still don’t know the exact ways how this virus is spreading.
We all are still figuring out how we can combat this virus, however, not exact measures are found out to do so. Restaurants can therefore rely on taking preventive measures, allowing air to be more high quality for the customers who are eating at the place. The future of restaurant industry after Covid-19 is probably more about the quality check, be it air, sanitization process, or even the food.
That’s probably the need of the hour. A team of well-trained staff is what can save you from the probable loss of customers. If you too are a restaurateur or wishing to do one, it would be much needed to segment your staff and train them accordingly.
Suppose if the meal bookings are done in advance, and customers simply get the ordered food ready on the table, when they reach the restaurant. Wouldn’t it be a warm experience for the customers rather than just waiting in the queues for being served?
The online food ordering system is also a big-time savior during such tough times for the restaurants. Since many of them are already following this trend, it is pretty much evident that this surely will be in the future of restaurants even after Covid-19.
Secure Order/Pickup Spots
Dine-in was the old normal, now is taking out the orders and consume it safely in the comfort of the homes. But that’s not for all – people have started to go out and enjoy the dine-outs as well. However, the major population is still enjoying food orders at the comfort of their homes, without worrying much about the sanitization, Covid-19 effects, and the fear of getting infected as well.
Besides, the parking space would be so consumed, allowing crowds to hoard together, which is certainly not a very positive scenario to watch in 2020 or until the existence of Covid-19. Hence, securing drive-thru lines for picking up orders only, without having to order at the window is a safer decision. Accept no credit cards or cash, just the digital money transfer, and voila customers will feel much safer getting food from such restaurants.
Future of Restaurant Industry After Covid-19?
… seems to be pretty much safe, only if these essential components are taken seriously. Since we are not acquainted with how this virus is going to react in what situations, it is better to adopt these essentials to ensure that whatever is done within the restaurant and even outside leads all of us to a safer and better eating experience (no matter at which corner of the world are the customers being served). Hence, the future of restaurant industry after COVID-19 seems to be safe and replied upon, if utmost care is offered to us all.