As restaurants reopen to an uncertain future in the shadow of coronavirus—with limited capacity and stringent restrictions—bright spots continue to surface. While some operators see light at the end of the tunnel, others have prospered at the height of the pandemic.
To serve up sales and mitigate the shortfall during the COVID-19 outbreak, foodservice operators have had to think outside of the box. Now, many are thinking outside—as in al fresco—in states and cities where dine-in remains prohibited. And even where dine-in restrictions have eased, al fresco dining still offers a breath of fresh air for consumers eager to dine out—and an opportunity for sales-hungry operators to feed the bottom line.
Bygone days of dine-in bliss may not be back just yet, but there’s no doubt about consumers’ hunger for their return. As government restrictions ease and restaurants start to reopen, foodservice operators need to be ready.
As government restrictions on restaurant operations loosen, the industry seems to have shifted focus from eating as few losses as possible to feeding the bottom line. Opportunities and challenges abound in this transitional period of social distancing, hypervigilant hygiene, and dependence on delivery and takeout. The “new normal” of modified operations and changing consumer demands is here for the long haul, even as much of it continues to evolve.
As the COVID-19 outbreak compels restaurant operations to make a turn toward off-premises sales, third-party delivery picks up more speed on the fast-track of growth.