The restaurant industry is unlikely to experience any immediate recovery post COVID-19.& |  Photo Credit: PTI
- Any relaxation of lockdown measures will need to be accompanied by new public health and safety codes implemented across all cluster points
- In China, the government has enforced protocols that require frequent temperature checks for staff as well as customers, tables that seat no more than four people, and at least six to eight feet of distance between tables
- A new contact-less dining experience may also see a greater embrace of digital technology
The National Restaurant Association of India delivered a gloomy forecast to India’s restaurateurs this week, stating that, in the absence of a tailored relief package, four out of ten restaurants will have to permanently shut shop. An industry that had previously reported an annual turnover of Rs 4 lakh crore, providing jobs to over 7 million Indians, is now on the precipice of ruin.
What’s in store for the F&B space?
Unlike many other sectors, the food and beverage industry is unlikely to experience any sort of V-shaped recovery once restaurants are authorised to re-open. In truth, only the development of a vaccine will amount to a complete rescue of the industry in its current form. In the mean time, restaurant owners across the world aren’t holding their breath for a rebound in footfall at dine-in establishments anytime soon, with some expecting the slowdown to last over a year or longer.
Any relaxation of lockdown measures will need to be accompanied by new public health and safety codes implemented across all cluster points. For restaurant owners, this can not only be a maddening exercise to undertake, but it will also raise overhead costs within a highly saturated industry where the majority of players often operate on thin profit margins. For those who considering persisting with the dine-in model, perhaps, China’s recently re-opened restaurants offer what may be in store.
Marked shift in dine-out culture expected
In China, the government has enforced protocols that require frequent temperature checks for staff as well as customers, tables that seat no more than four people, and at least six to eight feet of distance between tables. Physical cash is also a thing of the past with dedicated apps used by customers to place orders.
There is also minimal interaction between wait staff and customers who only come in close proximity when servers deliver food and beverages to the table. In fact, it appears that the culture of the dining experience itself has already begun to mutate, with some restaurateurs noting quieter and less vibrant ambiences.
A new contact-less dining experience may also see a greater embrace of digital technology. Zomato, for instance, has touted the idea of QR codes located on restaurant tables that allow users access to menus via the company’s app. Information from dish pairings to nutrition could be included, with the app used to place orders. Customised payment options could also be made available.
Your average waiter may also look a whole lot different in the post COVID-19 world. Restaurant owners will have to educate themselves across new health codes that may now require staff to don an array of protective equipment from gloves to safety visors, to face masks, while equipping themselves with hand sanitisers and personal thermometers as well. As such, the very definition of restaurant hygiene is likely to transform completely in the coming months, as diner expectations change.
Ultimately, it appears that restuarant owners will have to develop an entirely new operational playbook if they opt to continue with an in-house dining model. For some owners though, the decision to shift to a cloud kitchen model offering freshly prepared food or DIY food kits has already been made. It remains to be seen whether those unwilling to abandon the traditional restaurant experience yet, are nimble enough to adapt to the changing times.
Source: Thanks https://www.timesnownews.com/international/article/restaurants-eye-makeover-what-eating-out-in-the-post-covid-era-could-look-like/585362