How the pandemic has and will shape the future of F&B.

One of the largest, and most undeniable effects of the pandemic has been the resounding impact it has had on F&B.  Consumer demand is shifting rapidly, not only toward delivery over dine-in but also new forms of media and entertainment that sees them staying home.  As a result, restaurants generally need to evolve rapidly to deal with the changing field of play.

Delivery vs. Dine-In, who will Win?

Google's e-Conomy SEA 2022 report states that those returning to offices contribute to the gradual return of pre-pandemic habits, such as dining out; however, increased prices and aggregator fees worry both customers and restaurateurs when it comes to food delivery.

While this may not seem like a big concern for people returning to the office, a 2021 report by Deloitte asked customers whether they would be returning to their normal habits post-pandemic; with 64% reporting that they do not plan to return to their pre-pandemic habits of dining in restaurants.  

For many, the convenience associated with delivery has forced this change, with at least 61% of consumers now ordering delivery once a week, up from 29% in 2020 and 18% in 2019.  The overwhelming effect of this is that restaurants will need to adapt or face uncertain times in this new future.

Frictionless digital experiences ranked #1

With the prevalence of check-in apps for proof of vaccination, 67% consumers now cite that they are more comfortable ordering through digital channels even on-premise.  Over 57% of these consumers also claimed that they preferred to use a delivery app – rather than call the store in advance.  As a result, there needs to be more of a focus placed on creating and cultivating the ultimate digital experience for consumers.

What about ‘ghost kitchens’? Are consumers comfortable with them?

Surprisingly, yes!  The study indicated that over 79% of consumers would happily order from ghost kitchens - even where they knew the location was one; demonstrating a concerted change in attitude, up 20% greater than a year ago, and again 32% higher than the year prior to that.  While they cite cleanliness as a major factor, many have recognised that this new method of kitchen operation brings them more choice, control and importantly convenience with respect to their delivery options.

So how do we think things will look in 2023?

With consumers immersed in online platforms (social media, e-commerce, gaming), one thing still remains true - they’ll need to eat - and delivery kitchens will be there to serve them.  With shorter, more refined menus, and limited edition concepts that exist for only an instant, consumers will want food that reflects fast, fresh and fun.  This will involve the creation and curation of virtual brands that mirror and mimic the popular culture - gamers, livestreamers, metaverse avatars and a host of other unknowns.

So what can I do to prepare?

Restaurateurs need to embrace progress and the only constant of change.  The best way to do that is to experiment with virtual brands, especially those incremental to your current offering - across brands, channels and locations.  This process can be operationally difficult, which is why our all-in-one platform – klikit – is here to help!  

Want to know how klikit can supercharge your restaurant?