Covid-19 brought both change and continuity to how diners interact with restaurants. While before restaurants were a staple for customer service, they now have to adapt to the trend toward mobile and contactless. There are a couple ways that restaurants can adapt.
First, they need to shift their focus from the plate to the to-go box. As folks want to take food to-go, restaurants can use this opportunity to up their branding through sleek and eco-friendly packaging. In addition, while consumers are cooking at home more and more, some restaurants have opted for allowing diners to purchase meal-kits, such as Toronto based restaurant “Good Hombres,” who recently rolled out their build-your-own taco kit.
Next, those restaurants who have limited outdoor dining need to find creative ways to keep up. Effective strategies will include repurposing gardens, parking lots, street fronts, etc. to meet customers’ dine-in needs. While the dining experience is evolving, the payment experience will evolve as well. Notably, 40% of U.S. diners would like to look at the menu from their mobile devices and 35% would like to pay using their phones as well.
However, one theme is still constant: diners want local, transparent, and high-quality dining options. Before the pandemic, locally sourced dining options were popular and this is expected to continue. This Forbes article notes how the “friendly waitress can be replaced with a letter from the chef” that explains not only the source of their dish but how it was made and all accompanying nutritional facts. In an era where contactless is key, this extra level of personalization is likely to be a successful offering for restaurants able to do so.
An excerpt of the Forbes article is attached below, where you can find more detail about these trends:
Restaurants of the future will be forced to re-imagine the words customer service, experience and ambience. While in-house luxury will never be fully replaced by food retail, to-go or delivery, and human interaction will never be made redundant by a slick online delivery channel, in 2021 and onwards, the balance in preference will shift… significantly. High value, well branded restaurants that have the foresight to transition to low contact touch points will be the winners of the future.
Overview by James O’Brien, Research Analyst at Mercator Advisory Group