Today, we’re exploring how life and operations for restaurants might look after Covid-19.
Life for restaurants after the coronavirus pandemic ends is uncertain. However, experts predict several key trends to stick around.
Moving forward, life after Covid-19 for restaurants will look like:
- Continued safety measures
- Single use condiments
- More contactless ordering
- Intense hygiene and sanitization
- Delivery and takeout remain hugely popular
Read on for a deep dive into how life for restaurants might look next year:
Safety measures stay put
To start, many experts predict several coronavirus safety measures will stay put, even after the pandemic dies down.
In the future, expect many restaurants to continue the use of:
- Facial coverings for employees and guests
- Gloves for employees
- Floor markers for social distancing
- Plexiglass dividers
- Spaced out seating
- Fewer tables
“We should plan on seeing face coverings, plexiglass dividers, and floor markings to help protect the experience. Depending on the style of business, there will be a ‘safety greeter’ at the front controlling the flow. Plan on the ‘I’m dropping in to quickly order and grab a coffee’ to take a bit longer, but worth it in the name of safety and supporting your local cafe,” Jason Berkowitz, CEO of Arrow Up, told Forbes.
Bottom line? Life for restaurants after Covid-19 is still likely to include many 2020 safety precautions.
Single use condiments
Secondly, many experts think that restaurants will ditch large condiments in the future. Instead, restaurants will offer single-servings of everything from hot sauce to salt packets.
“You probably won’t see condiments on your table anytime soon. That’s because health officials want to reduce the number of items that multiple people can come into contact with. You’ll probably have to ask for salt or pepper, and don’t be surprised if it comes in disposable, single-use packages,” explains ABC.
Also, for restaurant owners, this could mean switching to individual bottles or cans of drinks, instead of a fountain machine or soda gun.
More contactless ordering
Additionally, many experts believe contactless ordering, even for on-site dining, will become more popular for restaurants after Covid-19.
Contactless ordering is when a customer looks at a menu and pays their restaurant bill virtually, from a mobile device.
How contactless ordering works, for the customer:
- Look at the restaurant’s menu online
- Place an order online, through a third-party service or an in-house app
- Pay for the order online
- The meal is then delivered, picked-up, or eaten on-premise
By eliminating physical menus and cash, contactless ordering can help reduce the chances for germs to spread. Plus, contactless ordering can help speed up ordering efficiency.
Next, expect life for restaurants after Covid-19 to remain focused on hygiene and sanitization. This will affect restaurants in two key ways.
First, restaurants will have to adhere to strict sanitization practices between patrons.
“The safety of employees and customers will be paramount to success. “Hands free” will include doors, hand washing, toilet flushing, lights, trash receptacles, condiments, fountain beverages, menu ordering, and much more. Providing no-touch solutions will be essential for the restaurant of the future. Consumers will expect it and even demand it,” explains FSR Magazine. “Running out of soap or sanitizer will be a clear message that you do not care.”
Secondly, restaurants will also have to share their commitment to cleanliness to customers.
Your restaurant can share sanitization practices with:
- Posters to explain hands-free light switches, toilets, trash cans
- Handwashing stations (for outside dining)
- Setting out more hand sanitizer for customer use
- Changing messaging to explain your new safety and hygiene efforts
- Advertise the cleaning product brands you use
In short? Sanitization and hygiene practices will matter to consumers in the future. Be sure your restaurant shares your sanitization strategy.
Delivery and takeout are king
Finally, life for restaurants after Covid-19 will be ruled by a consumer preference for delivery and takeout, ordered online.
- Consumers plan to order 25% of meals via apps and websites after stay-at-home orders are lifted, compared to 21% prior to Covid-19
- Also, consumers intend to receive 14% of meals through delivery and 8% of meals through curbside pick-up post-Covid-19
- Delivery orderers are most likely to use third-party platforms like UberEats, Grubhub, Postmates, or DoorDash
- Since Covid-19, delivery and takeout orders have increased, up 14%, to 68% and 52%
- Nearly a quarter of consumers (23%) say their more frequent use of takeout and delivery will be permanent
“The pandemic is expected to change long-term behaviors for consumers. Delivery had already become a significant revenue generator for many restaurants around the U.S,” according to author Dion Rabouin.
Looking to the future, consumers will continue to demand their favorite foods and meals be delivered.