There are many unknowns in the future restaurant world and people have varying opinions of what is going to happen. Everyone can agree on one thing — Coronavirus and the resulting quarantines will change restaurants forever, with many already distinguishing between the old BC and the new AC (before coronavirus and after coronavirus). Here are some future predictions based on what we have seen happen in the restaurant industry so far.
With restaurants opening back up again at different rates across the country, it will leave everyone competing for market share. Many restaurants have worked on coming up with creative ways to remain open.
Some of the biggest areas restaurants are focusing on right now are off-premise sales, using new technologies, and increased focus on sanitization.
For restaurants, the biggest opportunities of 2020 come from increasing off-premise sales.
A huge increase in off-premise sales has been derived from online ordering, catering, 3rd party delivery, ghost kitchens, drive-thru pick up, and in-house delivery.
Research shows that off-premise sales now account for 38% of restaurant sales or $198.7 billion. Its growth is outpacing overall restaurant sales and quickly becoming a main area of focus for many brands.
Using New Technologies
Beyond using technology for off-premise sales, many brands have turned to technology to complete their strategic objectives. Here is a glimpse at what restaurants are targeting with technology:
- 41% - reduction in operating costs
- 39% - improvement in customer loyalty
- 37% - improvement in analytics
- 37% - improvement in employee efficiency/productivity
Over the past decade restaurants have looked to technology to help solve their problems and it appears technology will become an even bigger player in the future of restaurants. Interestingly, COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst to speed up the industry’s movement into technology.
Increased Emphasis on Sanitization
Another big change coming to restaurants is an increased emphasis on sanitization. Robert Irvine, from Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible, said, “We’ve got to put systems into these places and restaurants that hold the owners or the manager, or both, accountable for their actions and their employees. We need to bring back consumer confidence for the guest, but also for the employees that work there.”
This is also where technology meets the need and can help with increased sanitization. With technology features like contactless menus and point of sales, digital food safety, and increased sanitization task management checklists will aid restaurant operators as they navigate a post COVID world.
Future of Restaurants
No matter what the future holds for restaurants, most indicators point to the ability to grow and adapt as the most important skill for a restaurant to have. Undoubtedly, technology will play a key role by helping restaurants, maintain profitability, acquire new customers, improve employee efficiency, and improve sanitation and cleanliness standards.