This past summer, Restaurant Hospitality®, Informa Engage, and McCain Foodservice Solutions released a pandemic-impact report, a useful tool for assessing the effects of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry, but also for preparing for the future.
Rightly, the study devoted much time to takeout and delivery programs, as restaurants reacted to closures by shifting how the industry approaches out-of-restaurant dining. The report includes priorities for these programs, which is an excellent resource for restaurants since 40% of businesses surveyed had little or no delivery/takeout program in place pre-COVID but pivoted their business practices to implement one. As businesses navigated this new challenge, these priorities emerged, and the report ranks the most important areas of focus: enhancing technology capabilities, improving packaging, upgrading, and diversifying menu items, boosting marketing, and adjusting operations to accommodate delivery and carry-out services.
Whether COVID numbers are up or down, these industry shifts have established a new precedent, and delivery/takeout services will likely remain important to guests. In the last year, 42% of restaurants polled in the study saw a delivery/takeout sales increase of 20% or more—a considerable chunk of business that owner-operators will want to hold on to.
“Foodservice operators that have been successful in navigating and executing their ‘to-go’ and carry out/delivery strategies as they set a positive course and direction for their business during the past 22 months,” says Richard Weil, owner of National Restaurant Consultants. “It is no coincidence that these operators made multiple decisions, not only about how to make takeout and delivery programs work, but also striving to make it a positive experience for their customers. These operators directed their efforts throughout their organizations, recognizing this need was—and is—real. They strive to meet the new needs of guests now and for the foreseeable future.”
Our restaurant consultants have always been experts in restaurant operations, and as the industry makes moves in new directions, we continue to stay abreast of the best practices for efficient, successful operations.