Restaurants 2021: Will Take Outs And Deliveries Continue To Rule The Roost?

Pandemic has caused major havoc in everyone’s life, and it won’t be business as usual any time soon. In early 2020 no restaurant operator had the slightest idea that dine-out will decline by 13.74% due to social distancing and gradually phase out for a long period. On-premises patronage has fallen sharply during the lockdown. At the same time, Restaurant chain Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) has reported its best quarter in February. Jack in the Box’s management “made the right changes early” credits their focus on safety and off-premises dining options. Digital sales have doubled in the first quarter year-over-year. So let’s see how to take outs and deliveries will benefit restaurants in 2021 and get ready to turn challenges into opportunities.

Reopening: Embracing New Realities

As indoor dining restrictions started easing in several states, diner growth has shown improvement, and on-premises dining is gaining momentum. But for many of us, eating out might not feel as cozy and warm as it used to be. People are still reluctant to dine out, and rightly so. At the time, off-premises continue to grow, and 53% of adults say takeouts are “essential to the way they live.” In a recent study, it was found that dining out at a restaurant has a double chance of getting infected by COVID-19. The safest way to enjoy a restaurant meal would be to take out and eat with people who live with you. More and more restaurants are starting to use hybrid models to provide food service.

Ghost Kitchens: Delivering Success

The Restaurant industry is affected very badly by this pandemic, and it has made people think outside of the box. There are signs that some of these shifts are here to stay for good. Ghost kitchens also referred to as cloud kitchens or virtual kitchens, is a concept where commercial kitchen space enables food businesses by providing services in preparing menu items for delivery takeouts. Ghost kitchens are proving to be the best bet in today’s climate. Food lovers are now accustomed to relishing delicious meals from the comfort of their homes. This new format allows operators space to experiment with menus, like BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse offering a family meal package starting at $44.95. However, last year’s protest dented food traffic.

Digital-First: The Strategy That Trends

This year the brick and mortar restaurants are feeling the pinch with elevated safety and sanitation needs. And on top of that, on-premises dining saw a considerable decline. Certain COVID-19 related adaptations might or might not be relevant in the future. No one can predict how long the behavioral change is going to last. That means the restaurant industry needs to be innovative, agile and resourceful. Even before the pandemic in 2019, Chipotle adopted a digital-first strategy focused on their digital initiative and efforts paid off handsomely with 78% year over year growth. Increasingly the digital strategy of restaurants is becoming a make or break factor to their success or survival. By 2025 online ordering is expected to overtake in-person ordering at quick-service restaurants.

Seamless App And Website Experience Together With A Comprehensive Reward Program.

Think of all the time you have skipped to grab food from your favorite food joint or QSR because of long lines and waiting time. Let’s face it. The universal truth is that no one likes to stand in a queue. Order ahead and pick up shelves greatly increases customer convenience. By incorporating features in your app and website, you can enhance the customer experience.

For example, Chipotle last year enabled customers to save their favorite meals or pull out order history without rebuilding previous orders from scratch. Customers can also see reward points and bonuses available. Chipotle launched this new point-driven reward program last March, and it already has 8.5 million members since then, making it “one of the fastest-growing restaurant loyalty programs in history,” according to Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol.

Although, according to Datassential’s research, consumers prefer takeouts and drive-thru, smartphone and mobile app growth can not be discounted. “The growth in delivery has been pretty consistent: it’s one of those things that once people try it, they tend to stick with it,” Datassential’s group manager Mark Brandau said.

Summing Up

The pandemic has highlighted health concerns, and in the future, it may be heightened to the next level. As a result, many experts believe that more and more people will tweak their food choices and adopt clean eating. To meet that, restaurants will have to be more agile to adapt to consumers’ choices and concerns. While there is a lot to leave behind, the tech-driven approach should be carried forward. 2020 has thoroughly tested every player of the restaurant industry, from small businesses to national chains, and they have shined through the tough year.

For example, takeout and deliveries can now be considered an inseparable part of restaurant industries. While there are issues such as “order is not right” or “delivery took too long,” needs to be ironed out, and hopefully, tech-enabled contactless delivery methods thorough third party companies such as Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats and automated QR code ordering system will enhance the consumer experience.

Contact Rao Information Technology now to get cutting edge IT solutions for providing take out and delivery for your restaurant.