Among the many lessons of the pandemic, one stands out in particular, with far-reaching ramifications for the future of foodservice: The power of digital innovation. The rapid integration of digital platforms became a reliable way to drive sales, even under the most challenging circumstances.
Consumers love to feast on sports and food—and the restaurant industry learned long ago that pairing the two is a powerful way to score big business. Sports with a side order of food (and vice versa) is a surefire way to bring stadium-capacity crowds of sports fans to the table for special promotions and limited time offers.
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
The pandemic put a lot on the restaurant industry’s plate. Dine-in restrictions and shutdowns. Safety concerns. The seismic shift to off-premises channels. The rise of third-party delivery and fallout from delivery fees. The mad dash to digital integration and online and in-app ordering. It all added up to a perfect storm of unparalleled challenges, and everyone—from independent operators to major chains—scrambled for ways to weather it.
The impact of COVID-19 on the restaurant business has proved far greater than any prior recession, according to data from market research firm The NPD Group. In the third quarter of 2020, restaurant transactions dropped 27%,1 and foodservice operator spend was down 19%.2 Home cooking heated up last year, driving a 31% increase in sales growth for small kitchen appliances. Eighty-two percent of meals were sourced from home, and 70% of restaurant dinners were eaten at home.3
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