The Future of Food After COVID-19
Even as everyone finally assimilates life under COVID-19, many wonder what the world will look like once we come out the other side. Under quarantine, people have gotten used to the weeks of staying inside, of ordering delivery and rarely going grocery shopping, and only getting the essentials when they do.
After the worst of this virus passes and we all re-emerge, some of our new practices will stay with us, both out of habit and simply because of society’s shifting priorities and newfound importance placed on hygiene.
What will the future of foodservice look like moving forward?
- Delivery will remain popular.
Now that people have gotten a taste for the joys and benefits of food delivery, it will likely remain a more popular method for getting dinner than it was before. More restaurants than ever now offer their food for pickup and delivery, including fine dining establishments that previously never even thought about which takeout container would keep their food fresh during travel. Many eateries have established these revenue streams and learned how best to take advantage of them; they’re unlikely to give that up after these self-isolation measures lift.
- Support for local restaurants will continue to grow.
More than ever before, we’re all understanding the true value of community. People like the convenience, speed, and efficiency of fast food but the closures of so many treasured local businesses have shined a light on how truly thin a typical restaurant’s profit margins are. Communities have begun to rally around these small businesses to support them through this pandemic and are considering public good, as well as money and time when ordering their food. In all likelihood, this trend will continue after quarantines end as community members keep looking out for each other.
- Prioritization of health and safety.
Though health and cleanliness have always mattered to the foodservice industry, they’ve never experienced such a high level of scrutiny and effort. The extent of the measures we take might decrease (for example, face masks probably won’t become the next fashion trend) but certain practices will remain the norm, such as increased hand-washing using proper technique, wet wipes for service jobs where employees come in contact with many different customers and more people carrying hand sanitizer on them in public.
People will also expect restaurants and other businesses to have sanitizer readily available by the door as they currently do. Some might even self-sanitize communal spaces before they sit there. Food safety, and health in general, will remain a big priority for society after COVID-19 ends in a bid to prevent something like this from ever happening again.
- Curbside pickup and creative no-contact options.
With the rise in delivery and invention of new safety precautions, people have gotten used to contact-free methods of getting their food and groceries. Widespread implementation of curbside pickup, leave-at-your-door delivery options, discounts for pickup orders and other creative solutions have reduced too much face-to-face contact between kitchen staff, delivery workers and customers. These trends will probably continue to integrate themselves into the fabric of the foodservice industry.
- Touch-free technology will become the norm.
As restaurants work to reduce face-to-face contact during takeout and delivery, they’re also strengthening safety protocols for dine-in customers for when normal life resumes. Touch-free apps and other such self-service technology will help reduce physical contact between customers and cashiers or waitstaff.
Touch-free apps allow customers to order from their phones while on the premises, just as they would do so online at home. This additionally shortens lines for the counter, cuts out the middleman and sends orders directly to the kitchen for preparation, and ultimately improves table turn time so you can serve more customers.
Other self-service technology such as kiosks, handheld devices that customers can use to order and pay directly from their table, and much more all contribute to increased profits and greater customer satisfaction. Of course, as we move into a post-COVID, more sanitized world, these communal devices will need frequent cleaning to ensure no germs are spread after each customers’ use. Even routinely wiping down these screens every couple of hours can significantly improve the overall health of your workplace.
Contact eatOS to learn more about what touch-free apps and self-service devices can do for your business.
Society’s approach to foodservice has already changed drastically in the few short months since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Our new way of thinking will not easily revert to how it was before. As we move forward after this virus, many of these new schools of thought that have led us to contactless pickup and delivery services, touch-free in-person ordering and more will likely be here to stay. It might even inform our approach to foodservice moving forward.
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