It’s been almost a year of restrictions and mass lockdown due to the spread of COVID-19. During this time, the restaurant industry proved itself as highly flexible. Food places quickly adapted and started offering takeout and delivery services. In fact, takeaway and delivery reached their highest ever sales numbers.
We still don’t know when restaurants and cafes will reopen at full capacity, but here is what we should look forward to.
Restaurant Business Online published statistics about the restaurant industry’s bounce back after The Great Recession of 2008. The study shows that after some tough times, the total number of restaurants increased by 16%.
We are not saying that a recession is good for the business, but it happens. And once it’s over, there will be new opportunities for the business.
The pandemic is changing the consumer habits, behavior and needs. There will be a new normal to which restaurant owners must adapt if they want to stay in the game.
Improving the customer experience will be in focus once restaurants reopen completely. Consumers are craving fun and new experiences after months of working from home and living in their pajamas.
People have spent the last year of their lives sanitizing and washing their hands constantly. This means that paper menu cards passed from one guest to another will no longer be acceptable to many people.
New technology is solving this issue for restaurateurs so save your money on printing menus. Mobile ordering from your own phone via a QR code menu is the latest trend that is expected to become the new normal.
Greater investment in technology to collect clients data for loyalty programs is also turning into a trend. Especially, for restaurants that want higher guest retention.
Right now is the best moment to implement a loyalty program to your restaurant. Via takeaway orders you can easily collect your guests emails and phone numbers. Once your restaurant reopens you can send direct marketing messages to your previous guests and fill up your restaurant.
After months of isolation people will be thrilled to go out. Thrilled to get together with friends more often and think less of what they are spending. Good customer experience will be priceless.
Restaurants that adopt contactless ordering can expect higher value of the average sales. New technology is centered towards increasing the consumption habits of users. For example, the Quickorder Mobile Ordering module has proven to increase the value of the average orders by 26%.
Locations that were previously unattainable due to high costs will be affordable. Landlords are lowering rents to make sure that their properties are rented out and making some profit.
In addition, more fast-casual restaurants are expected to open. Fast casual dining has been on the rise for the past few years and is now accounting for more than 13% of the restaurant sales.
Reopening of restaurants means a lot more personnel will be needed to keep a place up and running. During the pandemic many people lost their jobs which means there will be a higher number of applicants that would like to work for you. And even though for some people a waitressing job can be a temporary solution, many of the best performing employees will stay long term.
There is no playbook for recovering your business from a pandemic. One thing is for sure though, once restrictions are lifted consumers will be first in line for the food places that provide the best value and experience. Everything in your restaurant, from cleanliness and atmosphere to service quality and waiting time will play a significant role in the creation of a good dining experience.
Now is the time to optimize your workflow. Use these last slow periods to upgrade and set in place everything from your POS system and digital menu cards to your table booking and hygiene systems.
Restaurants that just wait for things to return back to normal, won’t last long in the new normal.
Desi is the Social Media manager for Quickorder. She has great insight into how restaurants can improve their sales using social media and other digital marketing strategies.
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