This blog post elaborates on the trends that emerged due to the pandemic but will remain with us post-COVID and how EasyOrder can deliver solutions to better understand and serve new customer behaviours and market structures.
COVID-19 disrupted several industries but proved significantly adverse to the food and beverage industry. Besides the obvious economic hardships, the pandemic also changed how people spend their free time and money.
The F&B industry has witnessed significant setbacks during the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As lockdown measures brought restaurants and other dining-in concepts to a halt, many food and beverage businesses struggled to proceed with their mission-critical operations during this disruption.
To maintain their business continuity, restaurants must reinvent themselves numerous times, proving that agility is critical to their existence. They needed to quickly transition to pickup orders adapting their menus, workforce, and seating arrangements.
While most restaurants worldwide have fully reopened and consumer patterns are improving, the industry faces several limitations in completing a full comeback.
During the pandemic, customers learned to prepare their meals in their homes, resulting in an increase in grocery sales but a decrease in restaurant visits. Remote working conditions also contributed to this trend, negatively affecting restaurant businesses.
Almost two years into the pandemic, it is evident that COVID-19 and the new customer behaviors it has created will forever alter the industry.
The pandemic accelerated the food and beverage industry to the future, where trends such as online ordering and omnichannel tactics are forcing (or enabling?) restaurants to devise new, inventive methods to serve their customers.
Although COVID-19 harnessed some of these changes simply out of necessity, they will probably outlive the pandemic.
Take-out is the new black
Ordering food and online food delivery was part of our everyday lives way before the pandemic, but it gained extra traction, especially in the early stages of COVID-19.
The desire for convenience and speed from the consumer side and policy measures facilitating social distancing will enable take-out (AKA pickup) online order options to soar even after the pandemic.
When implemented correctly, online ordering sales channels boost client engagement and increase revenue. The idea is to provide a consistent customer journey from browsing and online ordering through payment and fulfillment across all channels.
Consumers no longer consider a restaurant simply a place to sit and eat. Instead, they now see a restaurant as a food brand they can interact with in various ways and through different touchpoints and platforms.
While many restaurants jumped on the possibility offered by third-party platforms in the early stages of the pandemic, their sky-high commission fees might be daunting to some. That's where EasyOrder comes into the picture: our solution regards third-party platforms as valuable assets to any business, and they are the perfect add-on to our direct online ordering solution.
It's a great way of attracting new customers, and they grant increased visibility and the possibility to convert new customers into regulars for any business in the industry.
It's about creating synergies by combining the usage of these platforms and offering benefits if customers order through your direct channels.
Your competitive edge will depend on technology.
A successful post-pandemic restaurant must invest in cutting-edge technology to meet shifting consumer trends. Investing in a restaurant's online ordering system is the easiest and best way to approach this dilemma.
Using the right technology will assist food and beverage businesses in resuming operations, speeding up transactions, and improving order accuracy. It will also help ensure customers that they have a safe dining experience.
An innovative POS system, table-side ordering process facilitated by QR-code menus, mobile-ordering technology, contactless payment solutions, and maybe self-ordering kiosks are all part of the current restaurant tech stack. Also, let's not forget about staff scheduling, inventory, and menu administration tools.
More important than having all of these technological improvements in place is putting them to good use. This is where all-in-one restaurant management systems come into play. They integrate with POS systems and other business systems in restaurants, allowing them to communicate with one another, leading to increased operational efficiency.
A good restaurant management software also automates corporate processes, increases profit margins, and improves the customer experience.
EasyOrder offers comprehensive POS integration through Deliverect, the industry-leading POS management platform. It integrates all your online channels with your POS system. So, your product, menu updates, and other changes are automatically transferred to your branded mobile app, web ordering page, and kiosk, all at once! Just do away with the time-consuming manual re-entry of order receipts in your POS system!
We offer a wide variety of ordering services, including a seamless table-side ordering process. Even better, this fulfillment method is facilitated by our unique QR code table-stickers, enabling contactless order fulfillment from start to finish, in line with high hygiene standards to ensure your and your customers' safety.
Our solution also includes a fully integrated, optional self-service kiosk interface, incentivizing mobile app downloads. This will help you engage efficiently with your repeat customers and make it easier to communicate loyalty programs, store updates, discounts, and additional services while making your customers happy and reducing the time spent waiting in line.
If you'd like to know more about how a kiosk can facilitate your revenue, read our blog post here!
Engineering your menu takes your business to the next level
COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine significantly impacted restaurant supply chains and logistical arrangements, making it difficult for many restaurants to acquire their standard products. Due to the most recent economic and political uncertainties, food and beverage businesses were obliged to cut their menus and use more local ingredients.
Smaller menus save money and are easier to execute, increasing operational efficiency even with a small workforce.
Of course, limited but very efficient menus are not new. Dark kitchens have been utilizing it for a few years, and the restaurant business picked up on it during the pandemic. As a result, menu engineering has become even more vital.
Menu engineering is about building a winning menu that only features highly profitable and wanted items. To streamline a menu, you need to understand its psychology: how dishes are presented, promoted, priced, and ordered.
When you get your menu right, you can boost profit margins while simultaneously saving on food costs and reducing waste (AKA items that take up space and aren't ordered frequently).
From our superior AI-powered dashboard, you can easily figure out your best-selling products and the monthly top product. Once you figure out the perfect layout, pricing, and positioning of your menu, you can easily promote or discount your items or set up a winning loyalty strategy for them.
Independence < franchising
COVID-19 proved to be lethal for many independently owned restaurants, and their absence left a massive gap in the market that is now begging to be filled, but by who?
Franchise systems could fill this gap, for instance. They demonstrated the ability to deal with hardships during the pandemic in ways that their independent competitors could not. On the brink of the global reset, when combined with favorable real estate, low-interest rates, and many unemployed restaurant staff, can cause franchise sales to skyrocket.
Another potential protagonist of the post-pandemic food and beverage industry is restaurant chains. Large investors and conglomerates have acquired independent catering and restaurant operations for years. But, again, the current environment of high unemployment, low real-estate prices, and cheap interest rates may contribute to the consolidation of restaurant chains' market share. In a few years, we may see most hospitality enterprises operate as part of a chain or label.
Does your restaurant business comprise multiple locations? EasyOrder offers a cutting-edge and reliable solution for your brand as a leading technology provider.
We're a secure partner for franchise restaurants and chains that need to rely on the highest service standards possible. We also offer a high degree of control so you can manage your multi-location restaurant business efficiently and from a single online ordering system and restaurant app.
Slimming down the dining area
By 2030, virtual - or dark or ghost - kitchens could create a $1 trillion market share.
As the popularity of dark kitchens grows, it's not just specialists who see the potential in this novel business concept. Restaurants began using virtual restaurant brands to reach customers during the pandemic's peak. This strategy enabled them to generate revenue without changing their existing real estate.
The virtual brand trend is unlikely to fade anytime soon, given the tremendous expansion of delivery and pickup.
The increased use of digital ordering will also cause food and beverage businesses to reconsider their real-estate footprints. To accommodate increased pickup sales, restaurants may reduce dine-in floor space while increasing kitchen and pickup spaces. They are reprioritizing to put the client first and maximize revenues.
Go digital and grow beyond the walls of your dark kitchen. It's easy with EasyOrder, your own branded online ordering app, and an all-in-one growth-hacking tool. It reduces your dependence on third-party apps and aggregators to advertise your virtual restaurant. And it is commission-free: you can earn more and save more simultaneously. Our app gives you and your food business a best-in-class experience. Then, build on this strength to dramatically grow your customer base while accessing critical customer data.
If you'd like to know more about dark kitchens, read our blog post here!
Food safety and a hygienic restaurant environment were always critical aspects of the industry, but COVID-19 accelerated this.
Taking preventive measures to ensure safe dining will remain a priority even after the pandemic. Incorporating safety requirements and communicating them effectively and transparently can make or destroy a restaurant.
Restaurants must continue to reassure both customers and their dedicated team of staff. As a result, precautions such as face masks, gloves, and temperature testers are likely to remain. In addition, hands-free handwashing facilities and contactless ordering and payment options will become the norm. Air quality technology will also evolve, such as air purification and CO2 monitoring devices.
However, there is more. Restaurants must also reconfigure their dining-in areas to accommodate more flexible seating. There will be fewer tables spread out more evenly over the dining floor and additional lounge-style outdoor seating. Plexiglass partitions and other moveable barriers will remain popular, assisting restaurants in maintaining social distance measures.
All of these adjustments prioritize the comfort and safety of guests. Restaurant owners prepared to adjust to these new requirements will discover that it is a fantastic method to draw visitors back to their establishment.
One of the easiest ways to avoid overcrowding and long lines in front of your business is by putting a reservation tool in place. Say goodbye to answering emails and phone calls to book reservations. The EasyOrder mobile apps are equipped with a free plugin that does it for you effortlessly.
In a nutshell...
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many industries to their knees and altered how we conduct business and live our lives, probably forever.
However, it also acted as a catalyst for change: many of the pandemic's impacts will stay with us for the long run, and while not many of them are favorable, there are ways to harness them.
When it comes to the food and beverage industry, the main takeaway is that a service provider can only outlast economic hardship and social change if it's agile and able to transform. Therefore, it needs to invest in future technologies and resilient business models.
EasyOrder is here to help
Your own mobile ordering app and webpage are the best way to connect with your community. Customers can easily find you online, check your business information, and order through any device. Attract new customers by making sure they can easily find your business on Google by ranking better than your competitors. With EasyOrder, that's already a done deal. The final goal is that your repeat customers end up having your app in their pocket so you can reach out to them with 100% relevant and tailored offerings.
An own food and beverage order app is an innovative, user-friendly mobile ordering solution for any business: more loyalty, customers, and online orders but no commission fees.
Outpace your competition, delight your customers directly and start to accept orders and grow revenue - all you need to do is get in touch with us!