Which Service Model Is Right for Restaurants?
Before the pandemic, restaurants stuck to the core service models that most diners expect. From fast-fine to buffet style, you likely saw these in abundance before the pandemic. Now, however, new consumer expectations might mean to consider an alternative service model that better fits the new way of doing things. Especially with COVID-19 an ongoing concern, restaurants need safer ways to run their businesses.
Which Service Model Is Right?
1. Delivery Only
Throughout the pandemic, food delivery platforms thrived. Whether through third party apps like Uber Eats or in-house channels, getting meals straight to their doors mattered a lot to customers. Online ordering promotes social distance, and the courier can leave meals at the door so there’s no face-to-face contact at all.
Ghost kitchens thrived for this same reason. Delivery is still a fast and convenient option. Cooking all the time gets tiring, and now customers can have entire meals ready with a few taps on their phone. Even as the world struggles to get back to normal, this will be an invaluable tool for busy people on-the-go, too. Although third parties were good for getting delivery channels off the ground, now restaurants seek long-term investments with positive ROI. Delivery-only restaurants fit the bill.
2. Food Trucks
Instead of delivery-only channels, some entrepreneurs tried the opposite: Food trucks are a bit like takeout-only. Pickup gained popularity last year just like delivery, and for a lot of the same reasons. It was less expensive for customers to do away with delivery fees, and for restaurants not to pay third party commissions.
Thus food trucks became a safe haven for customers to go, and get the feel of dining out without most of the associated risk. The flexibility inherent in this service model is part of the reason that the market has been growing the past five years. However, that doesn’t mean that owning a food truck comes without its own risks and limits.
- Advertising is difficult for a takeout-only service, though you can still run online platforms for guests to order ahead.
- With limited kitchen space, you spend less money on startup costs—but that also means no sit-down space unless you happen to park near public seating.
- Permits may end up costing a lot compared to a brick-and-mortar location.
When it’s hard to get customers to come to you, some brands choose to go right to where they live, work and play. It’s not right for everyone, but it could be right for your restaurant.
3. Hybrid Service Model
Sometimes, restaurants need a solution that’s the best of both worlds. They want to keep their brick-and-mortar location while also offering nontraditional avenues for customers to get what they need. And what they need now isn’t the same as it was before the pandemic.
That’s why some are taking unconventional approaches to the modern dining experience. Combining restaurants with grocery stores or cafes lets the menu expand without a complete overhaul. Particularly in the very beginning of the pandemic, grocery shelves ran dry as people clamored to stock up on necessities. Restaurants began selling off excess stock as a way to avoid wasting their inventory, and to make some extra profit. Now, hybrid service models like this may proliferate as business owners and consumers see the convenience of a one-stop-shop.
Why a New Service Model Could Be for You
As consumers shift even more toward takeout and contactless services, restaurants need COVID-safe sales channels. More importantly, they should center communities when making big changes. As the pandemic continues to threaten and change our lives, people crave safe places to enjoy each other’s company as in-person dining becomes more widespread.
New service models aren’t just opportunities for friends to get together. They’re also chances for restaurants to learn and get to know their neighbors. Create strong relationships with your guests to get to know what they like and how to better serve them as a proprietor. Start by investing in a smart Point of Sale system capable of streamlining communication for guests and staff alike.
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