The restaurant industry suffered some of the most devastating effects from the sudden outbreak of the global pandemic. Over the past year, at least 110,000 or 17% of all restaurants in the country permanently closed down. Among those, about 10,000 restaurants closed during the last three months of the year. The National Restaurant Association also released a report recently depicting the state of the restaurant industry at the end of 2020.
Out of 6,000 restaurant operators surveyed, 87% saw a 36% drop in their revenue while 83% expected sales to worsen over the following months. Moreover, over 37% of restaurants believed that they would not weather the pandemic six months from when the study was conducted.
However, the future doesn’t necessarily look too bleak. In the same report, 1,000 adults were also surveyed. It was found that 6 in 10 adults expressed that restaurants are an essential part of their lifestyle. It’s also been established that consumer demand remains high as 88% of Americans said they enjoy going to restaurants.
Served with Technology
Despite all the unfortunate circumstances of the past year, the restaurant industry is headed towards a more stable path of recovery. The foreseen post-pandemic situations prove to be promising for restaurant owners. Coupled with all the aforementioned facts and figures, now is the best time for entrepreneurs to look for a restaurant franchise opportunity and enter into the sector.
It’s no secret that the effects of the global pandemic will also drastically change how restaurants will function. The restaurants of the future will look much different from their pre-pandemic counterparts. Hence, another factor that should be considered is the continued technological innovations being integrated into the industry.
Local and federal government authorities have encouraged restaurants to make the necessary developments to enhance their capabilities. Likewise, the adoption of technology has also been accelerated to improve restaurant operations in the wake of the health crisis. These are the biggest technological trends that aspiring restaurant owners should be aware of.
The Rise of Self-service
As vaccine rollout programs across the country continue to be carried out, this has also prompted a slight return to some form of normalcy. In effect, countless restaurants have been reopened to serve their customers. However, limited operations and al fresco dining are the necessary trade-offs.
Moreover, contactless transactions prevail in these settings. In fact, this practice is expected to persist even after the pandemic has come to pass. Restaurants should definitely consider minimizing touchpoints for employees and customers alike.
This can easily be accomplished by installing more technologies that enable self-ordering. Self-service kiosks, for instance, is a device that most restaurants should definitely integrate into their establishments. Automating the order process will also help to improve overall efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Employing the help of robots in restaurants is another promising technology that should be considered. The thought of robot chefs is still far off from being realized. The front-of-house operations, however, could significantly benefit from automation.
Hosts and servers, among other front-of-house employees, are the most at risk of losing their jobs in line with reduced touchpoints around the restaurant. To address this looming issue, the idea of putting robots in their place should effectively be discussed.
Increasing unemployment rates is one of the most common arguments against automation. This is especially relevant as threats of mass unemployment remain. However, automation will actually lead to better job creation. Within the restaurant industry, it will allow employees to prioritize customer service.
POS in the Clouds
Innovations in the point-of-sale (POS) systems of restaurants should also weigh in on various establishments. In this regard, the popularity of cloud-based POS systems for restaurants has been rising as of late. The adoption of this technology is becoming more widespread and for good reason.
As opposed to legacy systems, cloud-based POS systems are proven to have better ease of use without the need for extensive installation. This allows restaurants to save hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on maintenance and other unnecessary costs.
More importantly, this technology helps to provide more accurate business reporting when tracking sales and inventory management. This can also translate into better customer experiences, improved employee workflow, and informed menu trends.
The Future is Sunny-side Up
In the wake of the global pandemic, the restaurant industry is poised to benefit from a much better road to recovery. There is an encouraging level of consumer demand that has persisted despite the health crisis. This will definitely help the industry recoup from the tragedies of the previous year.
However, this road is not necessarily without much-needed transitions. Adopting better technological solutions is crucial for restaurants. It also serves to improve almost every facet of their business. Restaurateurs, both current and aspiring, should definitely incorporate the most relevant technologies into their operations if they hope to thrive in the post-pandemic world.