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Restaurants Redux: Foodservice Preps for Post-Pandemic Profits

Blog 312_mark-adriane-muS2RraYRuQ-unsplashIf the pandemic has seemed to consist of nothing but a plateful of problems, the table is now being reset with plenty of reasons for optimism.

COVID-19 vaccines are becoming increasingly available, and all adults (ages 18 and up) should be eligible to receive them by May 1.1 The recently passed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill contains $28.6 billion in restaurant relief. Known as the American Rescue Plan, the new law’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund provides the relief debt-free to small and midsize restaurants.2 And consumers will now have more money to spend on foodservice. Individual Americans making under $75,000 a year and households with incomes under $150,000 will receive stimulus checks of $1,400.2

The infusion of cash into consumer pockets and restaurant coffers seems certain to boost business and bring a sense of hope and renewal to the spring season. "These grants will inject a much-needed stimulus along the supply chain to begin to balance the economic damage done while restaurants have been struggling," National Restaurant Association President and CEO Tom Bené said in a statement. “We are still a long way from full recovery, and it's likely more grant money will be needed to get us there, but today the industry has hope for the future."2

Erika Polmar, executive director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, a trade group formed by independent restaurateurs and chefs during the pandemic, echoed Bené’s sentiments: “Today, the heartbreak starts to heal.”3 Polmar considers the law “the difference between shuttered storefronts and open doors.”3

Don Fox, CEO of the fast-casual sandwich chain Firehouse Subs, said it shouldn’t be surprising if the stimulus package increases same-store sales by as much as 90% to 100%.4 Fox’s optimism is consistent with the bullish sentiment of independent operators who see the pa

ckage, rising vaccination rates and easing restrictions as a major boost to business.4

“Timing-wise, it couldn’t have come at any better time,” said Vince Crysler, CEO of Pilsener Haus Biergarten, an Austrian-Hungarian restaurant  in Hoboken, New Jersey. “It gives us hope and the ability to prepare for what we believe is a windfall of business. People want to get out ... and do the normal things they did before. Dining out is very simple, but it’s a big deal in people’s lives.”5

Clodagh Lawless, who co-owns The Dearborn in downtown Chicago, reported that the central business district is coming back to life. The pandemic forced the restaurant to close in November, but Lawless was able to reopen it in early March.5

“With the vaccinations … Now, I feel like we’re heading toward some light at the end of the tunnel," Lawless said.5

Shayn Prapaisilp sees the tide turning as a steady stream of vaccinated customers return to his family-owned string of Thai restaurants in the St. Louis area. “The 

folks who’ve been immunized, they’ve been coming in,” he told Restaurant Business. “We’ve seen that demand is strong. Ticket numbers are up. People are having that extra appetizer, that extra cocktail. There’s definitely higher spend per ticket.”5

As the COVID-19 era starts to fade, what changes would you like to make to your menu mix? How do you plan to satisfy consumers' pent-up appetite for dine-in services while building on your off-premises business? Mondelēz International Foodservice combines culinary expertise and trusted brand ingredients to help ensure your menu meets the increased demand of a post-pandemic market. Share your thoughts below and let us know how we can help put your foodservice operation in the best position to profit from fresh opportunities on the horizon.

1 Breuninger, Kevin and Macias, Amanda, “Biden will direct states to make all adults eligible for Covid vaccine by May 1," CNBC, March 11, 2021

2 Fantozzi, Joanna, “President Biden signs the American Rescue Plan with $28.6 billion in restaurant relief into law,” Nation’s Restaurant News, March 11, 2021

3 King, Ledyard, “Restaurants, bars decimated by pandemic getting billions from Biden's COVID-19 stimulus bill," USA Today, March 12, 2021

4 Maze, Jonathan, “Get Ready for a Big Spring,” Restaurant Business, March 12, 2021

5 Lalley, Heather, “For the 1st Time in a Brutal Year, Operators Feel A Strange New Emotion: Hope,” Restaurant Business, March 11, 2021

 

Topics: Restaurant Operations, Independents, Foodservice Industry, Sales & Profitability, Operations, COVID-19, Coronavirus

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