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Restaurant Management Post-COVID-19: Industry Changes to Consider

Empty Restaurant Dining Room

After weeks of closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurant dining rooms across the country are beginning to reopen. While the details of reopening rely heavily on state and local mandates, at some point in the future, these safety restrictions will be lifted, and restaurants will attempt to return to some semblance of normalcy. However, normalcy may no longer exist. In today’s blog, the experts at McDonald Wholesale discuss some potential restaurant industry changes we could see even after the immediate threat of coronavirus recedes.

Increase in Takeout & Delivery Business

Once dining rooms are allowed to reopen, that doesn’t necessarily mean business as usual. In fact, off-premise dining will likely remain a strong component of business for years to come.

While the COVID-19 pandemic had many restaurants scrambling to come up with a strategy for no-contact curbside pickup and delivery, it’s important for anyone managing a restaurant to now take their time to come up with a takeout and food delivery system that benefits their business long-term. Whether it’s creating your own online ordering system on your restaurant’s website or hiring in-house delivery drivers, make sure you’re prepared for takeout and delivery business to remain strong post-coronavirus.

Diner Expectations

Even as we move further away from the immediate threat of coronavirus, diners will likely continue to place extra value on cleanliness and social distance. While many states are requiring temporary safety measures, it’s likely that at least some of these changes will become standard procedure for restaurants.

Consider frequently (and visibly) sanitizing high-traffic areas, moving to disposable or digital menus, cleaning condiments between seatings, covering food as it’s carried across the restaurant, reducing the number of tables in your restaurant, creating 6-feet of distance between each table, and any other safety or sanitation practices that could protect your diners and staff and give them peace of mind.

COVID-19 didn’t just change the way we view our own health and safety, it also continues to affect our economy. With so many people facing layoffs, pay cuts, and furloughs, the restaurant industry will likely see some changes in the attitudes of their diners.

Not only will people likely seek out discounts and special value, but people may eat out less frequently, opting to stay in and save money instead. If you’re grappling with how to manage a restaurant post-COVID-19, you’ll definitely want to try to find ways to incentivize customers to dine-in through special promotions, coupons, and happy hour deals.

Menu Changes

The restaurant industry will likely see establishments updating their menu post-coronavirus. For some restaurants, that will mean cutting out menu items that aren’t as popular or profitable as a way to cut food costs and reduce food waste. Because diners might be weary of the passing of germs through shareable or family-style items, we might see restaurants moving more toward small-plate dishes. Additionally, some restaurants will likely try to rely more heavily on food dishes that can be safely and effectively transported off-premises, either through takeout or delivery service.

More Ghost Kitchens

With the changing landscape of the restaurant industry, we expect to see ghost kitchens continue to rise in popularity. Because ghost kitchens have low set-up fees and work on a takeout and delivery model, they will likely pop up with more and more regularity.

Ghost restaurants can also allow brands to have their traditional retail storefronts, with a totally separate digital storefront, brand, and menu for additional revenue.

As an independently-owned business, McDonald Wholesale understands the challenges of the restaurant industry at this time, and we’re doing everything we can to help each and every one of our customers thrive. Not only are we dedicated to providing the highest-quality wholesale food products for your restaurant, but we also provide menu design and development services so you have everything you need to succeed. Contact us today to become a customer for life!

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