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Have Restaurant Dining Trends Permanently Shifted?

Oct 2, 2020 2:47:15 PM

As the coronavirus continues to influence society, restaurants and customers alike must adapt while attempting to bring a sense of familiarity to their daily lives.

In this article, we explore how the pandemic has changed restaurant operations and facility maintenance going forward.

1. Increased use of technology in restaurants

While a recent industry survey says approximately 63% of consumers reported they still prefer to place their orders directly with restaurants instead of through food delivery apps like DoorDash, GrubHub, and Postmates. However, the surge in in orders placed through third-party food delivery apps indicates direct ordering is under significant pressure.

By catering to the needs and wants of their customers through all channels, restaurants have an opportunity to capture an even larger profit for themselves.

Business leaders should consider a two-prong investment strategy: invest in technology that makes it easier for customers to place orders online, like through a website or an app, and invest funds in the right equipment and services that make it safer for customers to dine in.

In fact, many businesses have already beefed up the technology they use in restaurant operations. Think contactless payment processing, digital menus and contact tracing. This change also helps to offset decreases in staff, making operations easier for the reduced number of staff working on-site.

2. Shifts in footprint size and layout 

Outdoor seating and the safety it provides has now become the norm for restaurant operations. Restaurants with outdoor seating are better positioned to get customers in the door and can handle a higher number of diners.

Additionally, there are numerous layout changes that help restaurants seat more people, even during this unprecedented time. Tables are being reconfigured to allow for social distancing, partitioning is being added for increased safety, and other items that aren’t being used currently during the “new normal” are being removed and replaced with additional seating.

Consider self-serve drink stations. These could be temporarily removed to allow more patrons to dine in while still following social distancing guidelines.

Additionally, as winter sets in, look for new ways for customers to enjoy getting out and feeling safe, including adding outdoor heating and a better sense of cleanliness inside the restaurant.

3. Increases in digital marketing and social media efforts

In addition to the technology that has transformed today’s restaurant operations, companies are focusing more on promotion through digital marketing and social media channels to bring in business.

One of the main issues hindering customers from going out and frequenting these businesses is the uncertainty: “Will I be safe if I go out to eat tonight?”

By promoting new guidelines, adjusted business hours, and updated menu offerings online, restaurants hope to entice new and old customers alike back for a meal they can enjoy safely. Even fast food restaurants are in on the act, with the likes of McDonald’s promising to up their cleaning and communication about best practices.

4. Limited menus and restaurant offerings to maximize profits

Finally, in an effort to cut costs and maximize profits, restaurants are paring down their existing menus to focus on key items and customer favorites.

This move also offers an additional benefit to the employees working at these businesses. By limiting the available menu options, it places less of a burden on restaurant staff, who are already dealing with the stresses of stringent COVID-19 guidelines and less hands-on deck

If nothing else, the pandemic has shown that necessity is the mother of invention as proven in the need for restaurants to remain flexible, think on their feet, and come up with creative solutions to keep their customers safe and happy. As the situation continues to change, businesses will continue to need to innovate and adapt restaurant operations to turn a profit.

How Vixxo Supports Restaurants During the Pandemic

Restaurants are faced with significant challenges in maximizing capacity and revenue in the face of shifting regulations and best practices in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now more than ever, you need a partner that can help you monitor asset performance, increase uptime, and leverage a network of vetted service providers, and Vixxo can help.

Beyond our expertise in equipment, and more recently since the pandemic began, we’ve supported our customers’ COVID-19 remediation needs. 

You can learn more about Vixxo’s solutions for restaurants here.