The National Restaurant Association released a bleak report last week confirming what many in the industry already knew: 2020 was the most challenging year restaurants have ever experienced thus far.
More than 110,000 businesses closed (at least temporarily), and 2.5 million restaurant jobs were lost since the start of the pandemic.
With these staggering facts in mind, it may be hard for some restaurant owners, managers, and employees to remain optimistic. That said, it has also been a time of incredible resilience, where restaurants found ways to pivot their business models in revolutionary ways. Some incredible innovations have become popular during the pandemic: everything from dining in heated igloos to food delivery robots.
Taking Part in the Takeout Revolution
The COVID-19 pandemic has more than doubled business for mobile delivery apps, including GrubHub, UberEats, and DoorDash. Experts speculate that people are more willing to pay a delivery fee when they perceive their safety is at stake. That said, mobile apps take a large cut of the sale—anywhere from 15 to 30 percent on average. As a result, some restaurants are beginning to offer their own delivery apart from preexisting apps. A restaurant training program can help train delivery staff for their expanded duties, ensuring better results and happier customers.
Staying Sharp with Technology
With surging demand for contactless ordering, restaurants have had to integrate technology into their business models, whether that was part of their original concept or not. Many restaurants have installed self-serve kiosks or apps for patrons to order food. Beyond that, some restaurants are rolling out robotic sanitizing devices or even self-dispensing salad bar robots. Restaurant training programs can help keep staff knowledgeable about the ins and outs of changing technology. Continuing education and training can help staff learn how to troubleshoot common issues with these tech items.
Keeping Up with ABC Laws
Early in the pandemic, states had to make emergency adaptions to their ABC laws to keep alcohol-serving businesses operational. This included some states beginning to allow takeout and delivery of alcohol, among other changes. Now that more places are open for on-site or outdoor dining, additional changes have occurred. Some restaurants that previously only had indoor dining had to create outdoor spaces for food and alcohol consumption. With a training program, employees can stay up-to-date on the latest ABC laws and avoid fines or other issues that come with violations.
A Safe Return to Restaurants for Hungry Guests
Consumers are looking forward to getting back to restaurants when things return to normal. In an end of year survey conducted by IFIC, 27 percent of respondents said the one thing they most looked forward to was worrying less when dining out, and 23 percent shared they are excited to visit restaurants more often.
That said, most of the public isn’t ready to go “back to normal” yet. In Axios-Ipsos, around 62% of Americans ranked dining inside a restaurant as a moderate to high risk to their health. That number remained relatively steady from September to October, after being slightly higher in the pandemic’s earlier months. Only 9 percent of Americans ranked it “no risk at all.”
Nevertheless, some may consider inside dining much less risky once they have been vaccinated. This means that an activity that once produced anxiety to the majority of the population will be able to bring comfort and joy once again, and it may be safe to conclude that Americans will be eating out more than ever, making up for lost time.
When customers feel ready to return to restaurants, they will likely do so in droves. As empty tables become filled again, a subscription-based restaurant training program like Synergy Sync can help get your staff ready to maintain safety and professionalism as the number of restaurant patrons grows exponentially.