COVID-19 and social-distancing measures have meant many changes to the world, the way we live, and the way we work. One industry that has been hit significantly throughout the pandemic is the hospitality industry and while we know that it will recover as people are desperate to get out and socialize and eat and drink at their favorite restaurants again, the industry may look a little different. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and with new and improved options for consumers, it could be a lot of fun and really help to boost the industry. So what does the future of restaurants, in particular, look like?
Al Fresco Dining
While there is nothing new about dining outdoors, it may just become more popular in the future and more commonplace no matter what is going on with the weather. With custom made shade sails easily available and outdoor heaters to keep people warm in the winter, there is no reason why people can’t be dining outside all year round.
Working From Home
As more people will continue to work from home, this will have a huge knock-on effect on the lunch trade for restaurants in busy cities. However, what we may see is restaurants adapting to that and encouraging more deliveries than they are currently and special promotions on lunch. Making your lunch every day in your kitchen at home gets boring after so long, but if you’re at home and unable to pop out to your local Pret then there is a demand for good lunches at home.
If restaurants want to make a comeback then we’ll also likely see a reinvention of menus. While restaurant owners and managers have been out of work, many of them will be planning what they could do next, and with all this time on their hands, they have been able to closely monitor emerging food trends, such as “clean” food, paleo diets and plant-based protein. It is likely that there will be even more menu items such as these introduced to capitalize on these trends.
Rethink restaurant design
To achieve post-COVID-19 growth, most restaurants will need a redesign. It might be that they need to change the physical layout to benefit from the shift to off-premise dining. Layout changes might include the addition of drive-through and pickup lanes, for example. Traffic flow into and out of these zones will need to be carefully thought through.
While the traditional restaurant offering will never go away, the pandemic has brought about new ways of thinking and doing everything. We have had to be creative and the restaurant industry will hopefully benefit from it once we can move past this difficult time.