Home deliveries, kerbside collections and walk-up windows have all played a vital role in helping restaurants keep going through the Covid pandemic (as well as throwing a lifeline to the farmers and growers who supply them). New research from Mintel predicts that the ‘off-premises’ food service model will continue to play an important role in the future.
The latest research from Mintel shows that after several years of growth, the US foodservice industry is expected to decline by up to 30% from 2019-2020, following nationwide dine-in bans/restrictions, restaurant closures, job losses, and lowered consumer confidence. Looking ahead though, Mintel predicts total market sales to rebound to pre-pandemic levels by 2023, with limited-service restaurants (LSRs) including fast food and fast casual restaurants, bouncing back more quickly and representing a notably larger share of the market.
• The foodservice industry is expected to decline by up to 30% from 2019-2020.
• Limited-service restaurants (LSRs) will weather the storm best.
- Walk-up windows and ghost restaurants set to play a larger role.
According to Mintel, two in five consumers (40%) are looking forward to going to a restaurant once social distancing measures are relaxed, however, there is still concern about doing so. Consumers will demand operators continue to take safety and sanitation seriously, as 42% of diners want to hear about food safety and sanitation from restaurants. Meanwhile, value will be top of mind for thrifty diners as 68% of US diners say that they are constantly searching for good restaurant deals.
Off-premise set to play a larger role
Even before the pandemic, a sizeable percentage (22%) of consumers were interested in ghost restaurants – restaurants without a physical dine-in location – and now these concepts have even greater relevance. Kerbside collections and walk-up windows are also well positioned to alleviate food safety and contamination concerns, says Mintel.
“As the pandemic was unfolding, the actions the industry took to maintain business with safety were swift: operational shifts to cashless payment, contactless delivery, kerbside pickup and walk-up windows. Effective communication of these changes on digital channels was vital to reaching diners. Diners will go forward, ordering with caution for both their health and their finances. Promoting takeout and delivery options offer another middle ground where operators and consumers can meet, especially for those who crave the experience of a restaurant meal at controlled costs (eg no tipping, pricey beverages) in the safety of their own home,” concludes Topper.