How Restaurant Industry is Coping up with the Changing Times

Uncertainty relating to the restaurants’ hygiene, food quality and constant fear of contracting Coronavirus have dramatically changed customers’ behaviour
  • BY Jaspreet Kaur

    Feature Writer, BusinessEx

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  • Sep 04,2020
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  • 19 Mins Read

Companies had set immense anticipations with the present year. In the beginning, oodles of business transactions occurred in the financial market, in turn, showing a promising growth. However, the pandemic turned the business world upside down. Businesses were disrupted and operations ceased affecting industries that were directly dealing with consumers. Restaurant industry is one of the segments that have been severely hit by the pandemic. 

As eateries and restaurants are contingent on customer footfall, the lockdown period testified their business model and closed down their shutters for permanence. The current situation of the industry is even more pessimistic. The lockdown phase has although permitted restaurants to reopen, they have to follow measures laid down by the government. Customers are also unwilling to dine out or avail take away services. Uncertainty relating to the restaurants' hygiene, food quality and constant fear of contracting Coronavirus have dramatically changed customers' behaviour.  

Owing to this, revenue of restaurants have plummeted to zero, thereby, business owners have put restaurants for sale. This struggle is equal for all restaurants despite their size and nature of operation. According to the Statista’s survey, 65 per cent respondents were not willing to order from food apps after lockdown in May. While, 16 per cent respondents said that they would order once or twice from food apps. 10 per cent respondents answered that they cannot say during that time. 6 per cent respondents were willing to order 3-4 times whereas only 3 per cent respondents showed interest in ordering more than 4 times from the food apps. 

This exhibits that a large section of consumers is not willing to embrace the old tradition of dining out. To stay in the restaurant industry, restaurateurs have to embrace trends that are emerging. The upcoming trends will shape the future of eateries, small and big restaurants in the Indian economy, thus, it becomes important to acknowledge them.

1. Maintain Health and Sanitation 

The pandemic has taught various valuable lessons to the restaurateurs across the globe. The restaurateurs would now have to focus on hygiene and health. They have to consider the health of the customers and also prepare food in clean, hygienic areas. This, in turn, can catch the attention of the old customers and lure them to come back to their favourite food restaurants.

On the other hand, cloud kitchens would not have to follow measures set by the government. They can freely operate and serve their customers as well. However, retaining employees is the main problem at present. Since earnings are negligible in the market, restaurants do not have money to disburse remuneration to their staff. Therefore, cooks, waiters, and other staff have left cities and migrated to villages.

As normalcy is returning to the market, restaurants are calling back their old staff or hiring new ones. To run the restaurants, staff is essential and restaurants have to learn how to retain them. 

According to reports and industrialists in the restaurant segment, hygiene and healthy food options are the cruxes that restaurants have to focus on. At the same time, entrepreneurs have to enable customers to feel safe as well as secure. The pandemic has given the restaurant industry to revamp itself and focus on other important metrics besides food. The industry has to undergo several altercations in order to meet the future demands.

2. Adopt Zero Waste

As restaurants start anew, many practices will be out of practice and new ideas would surface. The pandemic has shook the industry; even though businesses are determined to bring normalcy in these tough times. Restaurants are now adopting newer ways and begin offering delivery services. By serving food during the pandemic, they have been entrusted with societal duties. They not only have to feed people but have to focus on cleanliness and health. 

Restaurants will embrace zero waste practice to develop clean surroundings in their kitchen. Short menus should be created and have to be altered frequently. 

3. Switch to Vegetarianism 

The pandemic has entirely changed customers' preferences. Masses rather eat healthy food than junk food to satiate taste buds. Since, vegetarian food helps boost immunity and eliminates risk of carrying COVID-19 unlike non-vegetarian food wherein animals can be affected with the disease. The restaurateurs have to accept this trend and add healthy dishes to their menu. They can also add some old spices such as ginger, and turmeric that were being deployed in Ayurveda. Hot food should be served to the customers as it is more nutritious than the cold one. 

In the reviving economy, pay cuts would be commonplace in various industries. On the other hand, logistics and supply cost will surge and imports will go down. It will also be a time when local culinary niche will be recognised everywhere. 

4. Secured Dining 

In these difficult times, restaurateurs have to develop into responsive entrepreneurs. They have to be aware of surroundings and accordingly, make changes in their dining. The restaurants have to optimise available resources, not do wastage, accept raw materials they get and have to revere their vendors.

At the moment, restaurants have to take care of everything while serving customers. They need to enhance customers' experience and improve food quality as well as services rendered. New concepts need to be developed in the restaurant industry like small format eateries, home delivery kitchens, and adequate sanitation measures etc. Considering restaurant bars, low footfall would be visible for a long time as there would be less disposable income. After sometime, markets will be normalised and customers will return to restaurants, as well as bars, in a large number. 

In the current scenario, dining out has been decreased. People are preferring to order food at their convenience. Everyone is waiting for the vaccine to come out and then, go back to normal ways.

The above-cited information states where the restaurant industry will be going in the offing. Surviving the economic slump is tough and therefore, entrepreneurs are deciding to put restaurants on sale and give it to new owners. It is an appropriate option at the present time and can help exit the restaurateurs without much damage.

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