2020 was a year full of changes and challenges for the restaurant industry. When COVID-19 struck North America in full force last March, many restaurants were forced to close their dine-in operations and move to a take out and delivery only model. This was devastating for a lot of businesses, especially those that didn’t already operate on a similar model.
As we look forward to 2021, we expect many restaurants will take what they’ve learned this year, and use that new knowledge to thrive. As unknown as 2021 will be, we’re once again putting together a few predictions for the new year:
If there is one good thing that comes from 2020, it will be that people wash their hands more. COVID-19 has educated the average person on the real risks that viruses and bacteria pose. This means that your employees will likely be more mindful of food safety and regular cleaning.
It also means they will be less likely to come to work while sick. And while that may make scheduling difficult, it will also lead to less flu and cold outbreaks among your staff.
Delivery is Here to Stay
The restaurants that fared best during the pandemic have been those that already had delivery in place. They already had their processes down pat and the technology they needed to keep orders going.
When we surveyed pizzerias in August, we found that 57% of them had actually seen an increase in sales since March. Pizza is traditionally a meal that is ordered for delivery, and with many people unable to go out to restaurants, they turned to it as a dependable alternative.
Pizzerias also adapted to keep customers even safer, 60% added curbside pick-up, and 65% added contactless delivery options. Many have stated that they intend to continue offering these options even after the pandemic ends.
"We don’t have dine-in. So we were built for pickup and delivery from the start, whereas a lot of places weren’t and started hurting." - Tom Dioguardi
In order to remain open, many other restaurant concepts copied the typical pizzeria model and introduced new menu items designed for delivery. Many have introduced full meal packages designed for families, including drinks, appetizers, and sides. Some depended on third-party delivery companies, while others began offering delivery themselves.
These restaurants will continue to rely on delivery as the pandemic continues into 2021.
Diversified Restaurant Models
Even pre-pandemic, many sit-down restaurants were seeing the rise of delivery as a convenient option for customers. As 2021 begins, we believe restaurants will begin accepting that having multiple revenue channels is the best way to keep themselves safe from disruption.
This means offering delivery, opening new patios, partnering with other businesses, introducing new ordering methods, offering pre-prepared frozen meals, and more.
Some restaurants are even operating separate brands for delivery out of their kitchen. These are called virtual restaurants, or ghost kitchens, and allow traditionally dine-in restaurants to experiment with delivery without harming their brand.
No matter what challenges 2021 brings, the SpeedLine team will be here to support you.
Posted on Wed, Dec 23, 2020 @ 07:12 AM.
Updated on December 23, 2020 @ 3:04 PM PST.
Elizabeth is the Marketing Specialist for SpeedLine Solutions. When she's not performing her duties as the Managing Editor for On Point: The Restaurant Technology Blog, she's galavanting through the woods with her dog.