The pandemic of 2020 has leapfrogged the restaurant industry 10 years in the future in less than a year. With this extreme reshaping restaurateurs need to probably completely change how they run their businesses and adapt to rapidly changing consumer demand and behavior. One of the good questions to have is how to meet the rise in delivery demand. Everything from internal POS systems, marketing strategies, and common business practices are all very rapidly evolving. For example, estimates are that up to 60% of U.S. consumers are ordering delivery or takeout at least once a week. The result is that on top of potentially shifting to ghost kitchens, restaurateurs need to reevaluate how they approach their delivery game. It’s a new world out there is upon us and now is the time for an entirely new restaurant experience.
My high-level thoughts about food trends that the pandemic accelerated
1. Industry-Wide Shift to Delivery-Only
Restaurants are definitely shifting to delivery as demand continues to rise. A few ideas come to mind, such as the need to implement new systems and processes to make room for fulfilling online orders; or the need for ample restaurant kitchen space for preparing and fulfilling online order; ensuring a seamless experience for drivers and customers.
But the most important: planning for more online orders helps classic restaurants prepare for the shift to delivery-only: re-evaluating the menu, for example, are there items that don’t travel well or package well, in other words making room for the menu items that make the most sense for a delivery-focused world.
Online differentiation is a must when most orders are made from an app. We’re really post yelp here. So restaurants need to know tech real well, understand all delivery trends, be able to position their brand online and on delivery marketplaces well – leverage Doordash, Uber Eats and GrubHub, to maximize your reach and convert them into new and repeat clients.
3. Off-Premise World
It’s really clear to me that off-premise food businesses will continue to thrive. Consumers are relying more and more on online food delivery and it’s becoming a new normal to have a wide variety of options available on delivery apps. Although some customers may begin to return to dine-in once protective measures have been lifted, the convenience of online delivery will remain a staple in customers’ lives. Delivery will be treated as a separate business given that people all over have realized just how convenient and safe delivery really is.
4. Less Restaurant Space
With the shift to an off-premise world comes less of a need for a large restaurant space for dine-in customers. For example, quick service restaurants and fast-casual chains have even started designing new restaurant layouts that are leaner and more focused on pick-up and curbside-to-go options versus traditional on-premise dining. With less real estate space needed to meet delivery demand, I think ghost kitchens will be rising in popularity as they come with the perfect turnkey solution for online delivery.
5. Ghost Kitchens
Ghost kitchens allow restaurateurs to expand their reach through each food delivery app. They’re strategically located where the most online food orders are taking place. And since they’re not focused on high foot traffic, that means the real estate is less expensive too. With the rise in delivery demand, the shift to a delivery-first model might become vital to stay ahead, and very soon, restauranteurs will be using ghost kitchens to create seamless delivery systems that leave customers at home happy and realy loving the food.
6. More Digital Marketing, Less Traditional
In a pre-covid world, restaurants have to heavily rely on foot and as a result focused more on traditional marketing to reach your customers (think yelp?) but as of now, digital marketing is in, restaurants need a strong digital presence and soon, without a physical storefront, entirely shift focus to digital storefronts. But here’s the really good news: shifting to a digital marketing focus helps reach customers where they already are, and it’s way more easy to leverage key insights into customer behavior and data, meanwhile with more online customers, the demand for off-premise dining will continue to expand in the year to come.
Let me know what you think!
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My name's phil mora and I blog about the things I love fitness, hacking work, tech and anything holistic.
head of product in colorado. travel 🚀 work 🌵 food 🍔 rocky mountains, tech and dogs 🐾