Restaurant Business Model Changes in a Post COVID-19 World

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Business Model Changes

Lockdown restrictions are slowly easing but that doesn’t mean that the hospitality will bounce back to its former parameters. With tighter budgets and lower incomes, customers are expected to be more discerning. Customers will also be more health conscious and more demanding when it comes to the cleanliness of their chosen café or restaurant. COVID-19 has forced us to be more conscious of our own hygiene standards and habits, as well as the hygiene practices of others. Customers expect impeccable hygiene and health standards at all levels of the food supply chain.

Supply Chain Visibility (GS1 Standards)

Supply chain visibility is not a new concept. The ability to track dishes from ‘farm to plate’ is popular because it supposedly ensures ethical, health and safety and environmental compliance. Technology exists to monitor compliance and ensure transparency, however it is expensive and complicated to implement.  The GS1 initiative promises a common “language” and method for tracking and reporting all products from their point of creation/ growth to the production facility, warehouse, broadliner, and finally restaurant. Each container’s unique GTIN allows ingredients to be pinpointed at all stages of the supply chain. One benefit of this is that food borne illnesses can be pinpointed. The technology already exists. The food industry now needs to utilize it on a mass scale. This means that growers, distributors and retailers all need to conform to an industry standard and configure their systems to support GTIN tracking.

Greater emphasis on Food Safety Scoring and Cleanliness Standards

The adoption of GTIN tracking across the food industry will hold all supply chain members to a greater level of scrutiny and accountability. to ensure compliance to industry standards a government or independent watchdog needs to be set up. A functional and reputable watchdog party will allow restaurant owners, workers and consumers to raise their concerns. They should respond to concerns quickly and decisively. We shouldn’t leave restaurant’s reputations up to google and Yelp reviews.

Accelerated migration from on-premise to off-premise

Restaurants that were already using a takeaway/ delivery model before Coronavirus are more likely to bounce back afterwards. Many dine-in businesses have hastily pulled together takeaway/ delivery offerings. Now that we are some months into Coronavirus, you should reassess your sales strategy. Make sure that your menu offerings are transport-friendly by addressing your offerings, plating and packaging. Determine if an internal, external or hybrid delivery strategy is more cost efficient for your business. Data shows that while 1/3 of consumers will dine out with gusto once restrictions are lifted, another 1/3 will be cautious and wait for a number of weeks or months to return to their usual dining habits. The last 1/3 will retain their COVID-19 dining habits, which may be takeaway, order-in or even home-cooking. Reinvent your sales strategy to support a long-term economic plan.

Safety over Efficiency

the food industry is in a constant pursuit of efficiency. Coronavirus is forcing food business to operate at a slower pace to ensure the highest hygiene standards. Ideally, this standard will be maintained as restrictions ease. New standards include changing gloves or using hand sanitizer between customers, sanitizing trays and dishes before and after use, and placing napkins, condiments and disposable cutlery behind the counter. These measures will take each order marginally longer to be processed. Customers will see your business as being cleaner, more hygienic, and more meticulous. Even if their order takes longer, they will probably feel positively towards your business because of these extra measures. It is about time that the focus shift from efficiency to worker and client health and wellbeing. Working business models going forward should continue to support safety over labor and production efficiency.

Restaurant Design Changes

Coronavirus will shake up the dine-in experience once restrictions are lifted. As previously explained, only 1/3 of restaurants pre COVID-19 clientele will revert to their previous dining habits. Restaurateurs will need to do their best to accommodate for their returning clientele. Some smart steps to take include visibly placing hygiene products on tables such as sanitizer and wipes, cleaning plates and glassware next to customers or providing these items pre-packaged. You should replace salt and pepper shakers with sachets, shut down your buffet, and offer disposable menus.

Set yourself up for success in a post-COVID landscape by reassessing the capacity of your Business Insurance to protect your restaurant against further mishaps. As you rebuild you don’t want to be sidelined by unexpected costs. You can also reduce your fixed costs by comparing Business Insurance quotes on