Over the past year and a half, operators have addressed emerging pandemic-related consumer preference, safety and other needs by introducing innovative menu and operational changes—and a number have shown some staying power.
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Major restaurant chains had no choice but to flex their off-premises muscle when COVID-19 hit. As discussed in a previous post, bigger proved to be better during the pandemic, as large chains were able to rely on and build out their already well-developed delivery, takeout and drive-thru capabilities. Digital ordering linked consumers to foodservice with contactless ease and became a lifeline that made the difference in whether operations sank or swam in a rising tide of restrictions and infection rates.
The tide may be turning, but it can still be a struggle for operators to keep their head above water. Despite a surge of government funding for restaurant relief, rising vaccination rates and receding restrictions, 39% of restaurants—about 2 out of every 5—couldn’t cover their June rents, according to survey data from the lead generation platform Alignable.1
“Sustainable is attainable” seems to be the mantra of restaurant chains as waste reduction and earth-friendly innovation come to the foodservice forefront.
Consumers’ appetite for sustainability is strong. They not only want food that tastes good; they also want to feel good about the foodservice options they choose. And not only will they favor operations that step up to the sustainability plate; they’re also willing to pay more for sustainable solutions. As noted in Mondelēz International Foodservice’s 2021 Foodservice Trends: A Look at the Road Ahead report, sustainability is so important to surveyed consumers that they're willing to pay up to $2 more for eco-friendly packaging.1 Four in 10 consider such packaging important.1
Off-premises dining now comprises a larger portion of overall sales than it did pre-pandemic in all six major restaurant segments (family dining, casual dining, fine dining, quick service, fast casual, and coffee and snack).1 No doubt, the demand for takeout will remain strong in the coming months as summer temperatures and higher vaccination rates prompt consumers to seek a convenient way to dine outside—and take leftovers home.
Topics: Noncommercial, Promotions, Marketing & Communications, Family Restaurant, Takeout, Regional, Business & Industry, Commercial, Quick Service Restaurant, Casual Dining Restaurant, Fine Dining, Delivery, National, Local, Beverages, Main Dishes, Lunch, Dinner, Single-Serve, Family, Freshness, Grab-and-Go, Foodservice Industry, Menu, Customer Experience, Consumer, Menu Strategy, Product Quality & Safety, Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Food & Beverage, Health & Wellness, Packaging, Sales & Profitability, Delivery App, Drive-Thru, Consumers, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Curbside Pickup, Fast-Casual Restaurant, Off-Premises, Consumer Behavior, Sandwiches/Burgers, Design, Digital/Online Ordering, Third-Party Delivery (3PD), Safety & Sanitation, Mobile App, Outdoor Dining, Waste Reduction, Touchless, On-Premises