Restaurateurs have taken a big hit from the pandemic last year. It’s estimated that over two million in the sector have lost their jobs, and over a hundred thousand establishments were forced to close their doors for good. However, the industry is making a recovery this year.
The food industry, specifically restaurants, is making a comeback this year. Here are the trends leading that comeback.
Sanitized and Cleaner Restaurants
The restaurant industry has learned one significant lesson during the pandemic: the importance of sanitation and cleanliness. As a result, restaurants have been forced to change their policies and procedures to ensure the safety of both their employees and customers.
Some of the changes that restaurants have made include:
- increasing the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing
- requiring employees to wear masks and gloves
- installing plexiglass barriers
- offering contactless options such as drive-thru, pickup, and delivery
The way restaurants transfer food and ingredients from one place to another has become stricter. Robust kitchen utility carts are now a must for every restaurant, regardless of the size. These utility carts can ensure that food is transferred safely and securely without the risk of cross-contamination.
Moreover, vehicles transporting food must also be sanitized and cleaned regularly. Food delivery services have become more popular during the pandemic, so these vehicles must comply with the highest sanitation standards.
The pandemic has forced restaurants to get creative and innovative with their business strategies. Many have turned to digital transformation to stay afloat during these challenging times.
Digital transformation is integrating digital technology into all aspects of a business. This includes using digital tools to improve operational efficiency, enhance the customer experience, and generate new revenue streams.
Some ways restaurants have used digital transformation include contactless menu ordering, implementing online reservation systems, and creating loyalty programs.
Many restaurants have also turned to social media to connect with their customers and promote their brands. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are used to post mouth-watering photos of dishes, share recipes, and run promotions.
Digital transformation has allowed restaurants to survive and thrive during the pandemic. It has given them a competitive edge and helped them to stand out from the competition.
Focus on Sustainability
The restaurant industry is under pressure to become more sustainable. Consumers are becoming more conscious of their food choices’ impact on the environment. They’re looking for restaurants that source their ingredients responsibly and have a low carbon footprint.
As a result, many restaurants are focusing on sustainability by:
- using local and seasonal ingredients
- sourcing meat and dairy from humanely raised animals
- reducing food waste
- composting or recycling food scraps
- investing in energy-efficient kitchen equipment
Sustainability has become a top priority for many restaurants. They’re trying to reduce their environmental impact and become more socially responsible.
Focus on Health and Wellness
The pandemic has made people more aware of their health and the importance of a balanced diet. They’re looking for restaurants that offer healthy and nutritious options.
Health-conscious consumers are also interested in knowing where their food comes from and how it’s prepared. As a result, they’re willing to pay more for ethically sourced and environmentally friendly food.
Many restaurants now offer plant-based, gluten-free, and dairy-free options to appeal to this growing market. And they’re using healthy ingredients such as quinoa, kale, and avocado to create delicious and nutritious dishes.
Moreover, restaurants are also offering healthy alternatives to traditional menu items. For example, they’re substituting French fries with sweet potato fries or offering a salad instead of fried chicken.
The focus on health and wellness is here to stay. Restaurants that want to stay ahead of the competition must offer healthy and sustainable options.
Delivery and Takeout
The pandemic has changed the way people dine out. More people are ordering delivery or takeout instead of dining in. Some fast-food companies that earn a lot from takeout are McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC. They have seen a significant increase in sales since the pandemic began.
Restaurants have had to adapt to this new normal by offering contactless delivery and takeout options. This includes implementing online ordering systems, third-party delivery services, and drive-thru lanes.
Delivery and takeout will continue to be popular even after the pandemic ends. As a result, restaurants that offer these convenient options will be better positioned to succeed in the post-pandemic world.
The restaurant industry is constantly evolving. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to apply these trends. Doing so can improve your business’ operational efficiency, enhance the customer experience, and generate new revenue streams.