The catering sector is expected to evolve after the coronavirus.
We are going to experience changes in usage, new trends will emerge; tools and approaches will help the catering sector to overcome this crisis. Here are some trends that we think are important to consider for the coming recovery.
More demanding customers.
The impact of the crisis will result in a much more demanding clientele, more sensitive to food safety. It is therefore necessary to strengthen the trust between the customer and the restaurateur. We already see the wearing of masks as something normal, and in fact it may seem strange to us that someone is not wearing a mask. So when we get back to normal, food safety will be a key point valued by customers.
Sustainability and respect for the environment.
We will have to adopt much more environmentally friendly approaches in the years to come, as the feeling of protection towards what surrounds us will become even more meaningful once the crisis is over.
A more personal connection with customers for greater trust and confidence
It is important not to lose contact with customers at the moment, and maintain a connection with them for when you can reopen your restaurant. The empathy that the customer feels towards us and us towards them is an important and necessary link in building customer loyalty.
Using new technologies
Many restaurants are not yet really using technology. The coronavirus is changing the way we consume. A physical door is closing, but a digital door is opening. New moments of consumption and new opportunities are being generated. We do not know at this point when it will be possible to return physically to the establishments, and there are also doubts as to the security or social distancing measures that will have to be applied when the time comes. But by looking at how people can return to restaurants, we can find ways to get restaurants back home.
The digital switchover is no longer a question of budget. Technological solutions are increasingly accessible and affordable, and in some cases they may be free. There are even projects where suppliers and partners are helping restaurants in this process because it's something that benefits everyone. So it's not a question of spending more or less money, but of being able to give hoteliers the opportunity to create a digital culture, provide them with appropriate training and help them implement a comprehensive technology strategy for each type of business.
Adapting to new demands
The opening will be a difficult time for everyone, including customers, who will have personal and professional difficulties. New customer segments can be targeted: senior citizens will maintain their purchasing power and, to reach them, you will be able to adapt your menu and optimize your gastronomic proposal.
Rethink your gastronomic proposal
Take advantage of this time to take a look at your menus, your approaches, to make evolve your gastronomic proposal, and analyze if it is possible to improve the profitability. Adopt new approaches to become more efficient, and it is now that we must invest this time that we won't have later.
Not all catering projects are ready for home delivery. But let's be creative, maybe we can create a menu specifically tailored to your needs; or even create a secondary brand to provide a delivery service from our kitchens. Profitability will be assured if we use our traditional catering model and add this service.
Landlords and tenants must remain united in partnership and, with the help of the government, avoid a situation that will eventually bring everyone down. The cost of real estate has had a very negative impact on the restaurant sector in recent years, and the current crisis should at least help to restore some balance. It is important for restaurants to negotiate your rents down today.
Less than 10% of restaurants currently offer home delivery. The containment of millions of people in their homes around the world due to coronavirus should have been the perfect recipe for success in the burgeoning online meal delivery market.
But some of the world's biggest players, including Uber Eats and Just Eat, have been hit with a double blow: restaurant suppliers have been ordered to close, and with more time at home to cook, some people seem to have lost their appetite for take-out. This is certainly an interesting option, but it is no substitute for an innovative approach.
The Health of your customers and employees must come first. For example, offer a weekly menu that can be ordered one day in advance. Packaging, in hermetically sealed and disinfected vacuum bags, will allow you to keep it in the refrigerator to consume it within four or five days. Using only one cook per shift to reduce the risk of contagion, and imagining a delivery by yourself or your employees on bicycles or skates can be an original and interesting option.
Maintain the image of your establishment
Fashions and trends come and go, evolve and change, but the customer is always looking for truth and authenticity, even more so in these times we live in. Everything else is management, knowledge and anticipation; and the combination of good management and all these elements leads to success, whatever the moment.
Here are other elements to prepare your restaurant as well as possible.
Strengthening internal communication with your team
For those days before the relaunch, give your team the opportunity to exchange on an internal communication channel; this will help to strengthen team spirit and you will be able to listen to their ideas for relaunching your restaurant. By bringing your team together, even virtually, your restaurant will be able to open in better conditions.
Talking about budgets or strategic plans may seem too early or out of date for many restaurants, a sector dominated by SMEs .
But the sooner you review the current situation and think about possible scenarios for the future, the better prepared you will be for the future. Many things need to be rethought now.
Analyze what works on other markets
To successfully reopen our restaurant, we must rely on experts in other fields to enrich us with their knowledge and experience. Let's take another step towards improving procedures, processes and management tasks, so that we can focus on the essential tasks.
Following the recovery in other countries, such as China, can help us prepare for this post-coronavirus era. Analyse consumer behaviour, technical aspects implemented, table spacing, etc.