About 17% of US restaurants have permanently closed down since the pandemic began. That’s around 110,000 establishments. According to the report, the majority of restaurants that closed down are not even new. On average, these restaurants have been in business for at least 16 years.
No one can deny the impact the coronavirus had on the restaurant industry. It may not be “business as usual” once the pandemic has passed for the restaurants that managed to stay afloat. Things have inevitably changed.
Let’s talk about how restaurants and other food businesses can prepare for changes that the pandemic may bring.
Delivery Services Are Here to Stay
What was once a convenient service offered by restaurants now became a lifeline for businesses and customers. With people not being able to dine in, many relied on delivery services for food orders. Other innovations like curbside pick-up have become the norm for a lot of consumers.
While it’s easy to believe that everything will go back to the way it was before the pandemic, that may not be the case with delivery services. It’s safe to expect that many consumers have already adapted to a life that relies heavily on delivery services.
It will also be challenging for some people to immediately embrace dining in a restaurant, especially after a global pandemic. Delivery services, takeout, and curbside pick-up will remain relevant for the foreseeable future.
It’s wise for restaurants to maintain their current pick-up and delivery services even after the pandemic has passed. Integrating these services into the heart of your business can help show your commitment to prioritizing convenience and enables you to hold on to the customers who relied heavily on your delivery and takeout services during the pandemic.
Expect New Customer Attitudes on Sanitation
After going through a global pandemic, restaurant owners will have to expect that customers will not just focus on the quality of food and services that they offer. Customers will also focus on sanitation.
In the past, most people wouldn’t bat an eye if your table was cleaned with the same rag used to clean another messy table. That may no longer be the case in a post-pandemic world. Expect heightened concern from your customer about sanitation and find ways to alleviate their fears.
This can be done in a variety of ways:
- Encouraging the restaurant staff to briefly share the various sanitation efforts the establishment is doing to ensure a healthy experience for customers.
- Letting the customer base know that the restaurant has partnered with professionals to conduct regular sanitation routines like commercial kitchen exhaust hood cleaning and HVAC maintenance.
- Continued use plexiglass indoors, sanitizer stations, and requiring masks for customers and staff.
- Share photos of your establishment’s effort to keep the place safe and sanitized for customers on social media to foster confidence.
When word gets out of your efforts to provide a sanitary environment for people to dine in, customers would be more likely to visit your establishment. Integrating sanitation into your marketing strategy can help foster trust with a customer base that has become hyperaware of cleanliness measures.
When the threat of COVID-19 is finally behind us, restaurants will be opening their doors to consumers with a brand-new mindset and attitude. By understanding the public’s concern and taking some proactive steps, your business can thrive despite the many significant changes in the industry.