A presence on multiple online ordering apps, as well as direct ordering on a restaurant’s own website, is a given. Restaurant owners have started giving discounts with keeping food quality and delivery in mind. Even indoor dining establishments are likely to remain more digital, some owners create menus according to their restaurant themes and table-ordering options, where meals are delivered to tables by runners. Digital is now an integral part of today’s restaurant business and must be considered in both current and future decisions.
The good news is that delivery has significantly increased. According to a Boston Consulting Group article, “delivery’s market share increased from 7% in 2019 to around 20% in 2020.”
Restaurants Will Become Even More Digital
The pandemic sparked a digital and delivery revolution. If you ask me, there is no doubt that it is a trend that will continue. This implies that online ordering, delivery, and curbside pickup must be integrated into all aspects of the restaurant industry.
More Variety to Satisfy Consumer Cravings for New Flavors
Consumers have been seeking variety and new types of food options, owing in part to the pandemic: global cuisines, healthy meals, unusual ingredients, and so on. Because of social media, this trend has grown. TikTok, for example, has had a significant impact by introducing people to new food concepts and promoting diversity. In fact, “onigiri,” Japanese rice balls, was featured in a recent viral craze.
Restaurant Layouts Will Change
As off-premise dining becomes more popular, restaurant owners must reconsider how the physical layout of their establishments will benefit their business, staff, and customers. By 2025, I predict that what was once a 70/30 split, with more front-of-the-house dining space and a limited back-of-the-house kitchen area, will be flipped to a 30/70 split, with more back-of-the-house space. This change will accommodate the changing restaurant industry. We will also see more drive-thru setups, even in high-end restaurants, and almost all brick-and-mortar restaurants will define specially designated areas for delivery drivers and customers picking up their takeout orders.
Delivery Robots Will Become More Common
With delivery orders on the rise, last-mile delivery is critical, but it has traditionally relied on people. We must retool for future growth, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness in order to meet increased demand. Driver staffing is stretched, and consumer costs must be reduced, so the door is wide open for automation and technology to step in.
Some major cities, such as Los Angeles, Denver, and Madison, Wisconsin, are already testing or using delivery robots. Hundreds of additional cities in the United States are likely to see their first delivery robots by the end of 2022. While it is already the norm in some parts of Asia and India, I expect it to emerge first in larger cities and college towns, then in smaller towns.
Restaurants Will Change Their Catering Strategies
The shift from in-office work to a hybrid home-office split, as well as lingering pandemic concerns, have caused businesses to reconsider how they want to use catering in the workplace. This has also prompted restaurants to think outside the box in order to re-establish a healthy catering business.
Newer orders are more likely to be individually packaged — for example, box lunches rather than large trays of shared food. In our new working world, managers with remote employees may wish to send food gifts or treats to their employees, such as 100 individual packages of gourmet cookies, pizza deliveries for a virtual pizza party, or fresh produce baskets.