Challenges may have cast a few dark clouds over the foodservice industry, but there have been bursts of sunshine too. Just ask restaurant industry analytics firm Black Box Intelligence.
As disruptions from the pandemic persist, the industry’s appetite for digital solutions has become ravenous, and the taste consumers developed for tech at the height of the outbreak has grown into a feeding frenzy.
On- and off-premises, foodservice has had so many twists and turns, it’s hard to keep track of all the pandemic-propelled trends. But while on-site traffic has made significant inroads thanks to the widespread availability of vaccines and the lifting of restrictions, all roads still lead to safety.
As the COVID-19 crisis lingers and breakthrough cases and variants continue to be concerns, consumers hunger for peace of mind and feed on foodservice brands that emphasize safety. Research data underscores the critical importance of precautions as pandemic-related problems persist.
Every year foodservice operators hope consumers deliver an eagerly anticipated holiday gift: a surge in sales. This year, the market research firm Datassential is the bearer of glad tidings in its Foodbytes Holiday Issue, and there are positive signs that the industry will continue to ring up strong sales long after ringing in the new year.
While many operators are understandably wrapped up in supply chain and labor shortage challenges, the industry can still take comfort and joy in the nationwide rollout of vaccines and the rollback of restrictions. Virus variants may add to an air of uncertainty, but as Renee Lee Wege, senior publications manager at Datassential, put it: “As always, though, the industry has proven time and time again throughout the pandemic just how innovative and resilient it is, and there’s no doubt that’ll continue.”1
Staffing shortages. Supply chain snafus. COVID-19 concerns. No doubt about it: Foodservice operators still face daunting challenges. But those off-premises channels that the industry developed at a dizzying pace remain reliable revenue engines.