One of the most important industries in the global economy is the restaurant industry. Restaurants were one of the most affected businesses during the pandemic. In addition to serving as gathering places for sharing a meal with friends and loved ones, they allow people to discover new cultures through food, and are a place of celebration and community-building.
Undoubtedly, online food delivery options have pushed the restaurant industry and helped many small businesses survive the crisis. The Australian government is now prioritising reopening these spaces to restore normalcy. However, returning to normal will not be simple. Though lockdown has ended, the apprehensions of customers remain.
Therefore, to ensure their reopenings are a success, restaurants must invest in brand building, marketing, and promotional campaigns. Before discussing that, it’s worth focusing on how the pandemic has impacted the restaurant business.
How has the Pandemic Impacted the Restaurant Industry?
Consumers’ favourite activities such as a night at the movies or major league sports events have been out of reach because of COVID-19 and social-distancing measures. However, most business owners are updating their business for the post-Covid world; perhaps the most noticeable change has been the reduction of indoor dining across the globe.
With COVID-19 and its economic impacts on businesses and workers across the world, everything from QR code menus to pickup and delivery options has had to change or adapt. This includes the rise of outdoor dining, curbside pickup, and food delivery apps. Digital and delivery services were already growing before the pandemic.
According to the research, in 2020, the online food delivery market was estimated to reach $45 billion through online platforms and restaurant self-delivery, up from the prior estimate of $41 billion in 2021. In 2022, a further rise is expected.
With the increase in mobile orders, these online platforms, referred to in the industry as third-party delivery, have surged. So whether we talk about the USA, Canada, India, UK, or Australia, restaurant owners want to create an app like Menulog because this could be positive for their business, since the usage of the smartphones can result in higher-margin, lower operational cost and more excellent retention of customer data.
There is no doubt that consumers are pleased with these changes and want them to remain.
- A survey by the National Restaurant Association found that 52% of adults would like to see restaurants utilise more technology to make ordering and paying more accessible, while 84% would like to see permanent outdoor seating at restaurants.
- The revenue generated by UberEats increased from $1.9 billion in 2019 to $4.8 billion in 2020, a 152 percent increase.
- Many restaurants have replaced some common physical materials, such as menus, with digital counterparts during the pandemic, like QR codes.
It is clear that online food ordering is here to stay. So, here are some important strategies for restaurant owners to consider to thrive in the new “normal.”
Tips for Reopening Your Restaurant in 2022
Maintaining a profitable restaurant has become increasingly difficult over the past two years. As a result of changes in the restaurant industry, even well-off local restaurants have closed. However, a reopening of your restaurant might be a wise idea in 2022 as restrictions are lifted and more people are eating out.
Let Takeout and Delivery Take Centre Stage
Ever-changing rules and regulations have made it difficult for consumers to dine out. As a result, some restaurants are turning to a takeout-based business model to address this problem. It remains open for customers to come in, but they are only there to pick up orders and take them home.
Customers can place an order and wait for their meal in real-time via a phone scan or tablet using contactless ordering. You may wish to consider setting up a direct delivery platform and hiring drivers, despite improvements in third-party delivery services. Your loyal customers will appreciate personal touches or discounts available through your app.
Rethink Traditional Menus
Menus have changed considerably over the last two years. If you have been to different restaurants lately, you’ve probably seen QR codes and contactless menus, which prevent the spread of bacteria through touch and lessen the work of staff. Printing menus are still an option, but you may want to consider one-time disposable menus or laminated menus that can be cleaned between guests.
Before you reopen, you may wish to create a new menu that features the dishes that are most popular with your customers. It is crucial to calculate the cost of produce, labour and kitchen equipment to ensure you will make strong profits per plate before reopening.
Ramp Up Your Digital Marketing Game
This final step is always a good one whenever you make significant changes. It is important that as many people as possible hear your message, so keep it clear and consistent.
If you have a customer database, consider emailing or texting your previous customers with information about your COVID-19 policies. This will make them feel more comfortable dining out, as they will know you are adhering to government regulations.
Additionally, restaurant marketing on digital platforms like Facebook, Yelp, and Google can benefit your business. For example, creating a Google My Business profile will help boost awareness of your local restaurant. Customers can leave reviews, you can post your menu online, and include images of your shopfront.
It is a huge amount of work to operate a restaurant during a pandemic, prepare for reopening, and keep up to date with government rules and industry standards. Many of the new offerings, technology, and trends that were introduced in the past year may prove successful for your restaurant and help revitalise the in-person dining experience.
Consider retaining some of the service offerings, menu items, and services you adopted during the pandemic to continue delivering an excellent customer experience. In addition, restaurants should focus on offering seamless online experiences, as Australians remain cautious about Covid-19.
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