Navigating the new landscape #1
April 2020 – COVID19 will forever change the foodservice industry, consumers, operators, and manufacturers, all will be affected.
The long-term impacts of the coronavirus on Foodservice consumers will be seen in seven key transitions. Some of these changes are already taking shape as consumers struggle to adjust to their new environment while others will emerge over time as we move to post-Covid world.
Overall, some metrics for change include:
- Increased use of delivery as a percent of total foodservice sales: During the crisis, many consumers have essentially been forced into using delivery services in order to still get restaurant food. Even if they still use drive-through many, who have never tried 3rd party delivery before are deciding to use it. This “forced trial” will result in more consumers becoming comfortable with the service. This higher level of comfort will remain and translate into greater long-term use of foodservice delivery services.
- Food-safety-first mentality: Consumers are developing a dramatically heightened sense of what they view as safe food handling practices and an increasing desire to know where their food came from, how it was grown, raised and processed. We see this continuing into a post-COVID environment as consumers’ focus on how their food was handled has been exponentially amplified. For restaurants, this means consumers will have less patience for employees not using gloves, mishandling of food, as well as associated “cleanliness indicators” like dirty restrooms and over-flowing garbage cans. Additionally, consumers will continue to expect to know more about the source and processing of food prior to it getting to the restaurant.
- Expanded sanitization behaviors: The increased use of sanitizers, wipes and hand washing will likely continue. More consumers will carry sanitizers and wipes and also expect restaurants to supply them. Self-sanitizing of dining room seating and tables will become routine for many.
- Curbside pick-up will become more popular: Curb-side pick-up offers the best of all options. It’s convenient, the food is hotter and fresher than delivery and there is no delivery person handling it. We see curb-side and other minimal-touch pick-up options increasing in popularity.
- In-store self-ordering will be reinvented to a no-touch solution: Consumers have been trained to order using digital pads in restaurants. Operators have cut back on cashiers as a result. We are quickly moving to a no-touch world and digital ordering solutions need to evolve to allow this. In the meantime, we will see an array of compensating behaviors, from using a napkin, to a pen, to waiting in line to order through a cashier, all to avoid touching a screen to order.