COVID-19 has changed plenty of things in the world temporarily, but the differences it’s made to the restaurant industry may stick around for years to come. Some trends are driven by the pandemic and make more sense from a convenience standpoint, while others have only been amplified by the onset of social distancing guidelines and staying at home more.
Keeping up With Pandemic Trends
The pandemic has integrated itself into everyone’s lives, even if they don’t always notice the effects of it every day. At first, restaurants scrambled to keep up with the rapid changes COVID-19 brought, but some trends turned out to be helpful during the pandemic and for future business.
1. Implement Social Distancing
Early in the pandemic, all restaurants closed down because it was difficult to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while in close quarters. Luckily, as the pandemic started to get under control and more solutions were found, restaurants could have dine-in business again.
Utilizing outdoor seating could be one way to keep patrons safe. If you want to space out your customers to adhere to social distancing recommendations, keeping empty tables or booths between occupied ones and opening up more outside seating might be best to limit capacity without losing business.
2. Be Safe With Contactless Ordering
COVID-19 has encouraged people to embrace apps and ordering online. Being touchless as much as possible when people are concerned about their health is essential. Restaurants may start building and optimizing apps to place orders from their phones and then pick them up as they see fit.
Alternatively, some restaurants could choose to offer menus accessed by a QR code or similar method. This idea could prevent guests from handling physical menus, which would need to be wiped down after every use to maintain proper sanitization.
3. Hype Curbside and Delivery
Ordering food ahead of time and receiving it without going into a restaurant is almost effortless for consumers, so they tend to be OK with paying a delivery or pickup fee.
Receiving food even if they can’t dine in can matter a lot to customers. Curbside is especially important to emphasize, as it cuts the costs of delivery. While hyping curbside for your restaurant, you could consider including a special deal only available for pickup orders.
Popular Trends to Watch
Customers want a tailored, individualized experience when they eat at restaurants. While this may mean more work, it could also influence how your customers think of you. If you want them to have a favorable opinion of your restaurant, consider implementing one of these tactics to aid customers in their culinary experience.
1. Offer Healthy, Convenient Food
Health is important now more than ever. Convenience is crucial for constantly being on the go, so fast-food restaurants have attempted to make their menus a bit healthier to accommodate this growing trend. If you offer alternatives that can be ready quickly, you’ll be a strong competitor for fast-food chains.
2. Build-Your-Own Dishes
Increase the likelihood of customers finding something they like by allowing them to build an entree from scratch. Giving them the freedom to choose a dish that pleases them by including their preferences can leave a good impression.
When customers have the option to customize their food to their tastes, they’ll have a better chance of finding something they enjoy. It’s easy to implement build-your-own salads and burgers in many restaurants, too.
3. Engage Customers on Social Media
Social media marketing can drive more traffic to your pages and get more eyes on what you have to offer. Many restaurants become popular for their unique features, something that makes them stand out from similar establishments. You’ll likely have more customers seeking your restaurant to have an unforgettable experience based on your profile when you have more traffic.
Find something uniquely charming about your restaurant. Do you have an ambiance unlike any other? Do you offer something on your menu that no one else does? Once you find something charming about your eatery, be sure to broadcast it online so more people can see why you’re so phenomenal.
The Future of Food
Nobody knows what the food industry could look like even a year from now. Keep up with these trends proven to be safe and make your food more accessible and individualized to the customer. You’ll likely find more people enjoying your restaurant’s experience. People crave convenience, safety and health above all else, so as long as you prioritize those values, your restaurant has a great chance of earning more diners.
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