April Restaurant Industry Roundup: COVID-19 News Updates
We’re in the midst of uncertain times, and around the world, restaurants and businesses are concerned about and working toward the post-COVID-19 “new normal.” What are some solutions to customer dine-in concerns? How are companies creating new streams of revenue? As states across the country are preparing to reopen in phases, we’ve rounded up April’s news and updates. The good news? You can enjoy this palette of flavors in the comfort of your own home! Dig in!
QR Codes: One Solution to the Post-COVID-19 Dine-In Problem
Businesses in the hospitality industry are facing uncertainty considering the outlook of the post-COVID-19 industry. They’re looking for solutions to assist with industry recovery. Professor Cihan Cobanoglu of the University of South Florida and a Research Advisory Board member for Hospitality Technology magazine shares his insight concerning QR codes and their role in healing the hospitality industry when it comes to a customer’s dine-in experience. QR codes were popular in China pre-pandemic.
- When it comes to customer behavior post-COVID-19, they will be more deliberate in their dining decisions and the items they encounter. Restaurants need to highlight and share their sanitation practices.
- When it comes to sanitation practices, customers are going to want to know that restaurant employees are healthy. Cobanoglu suggests daily temperature checks before each shift.
- QR codes are another avenue for contactless services, including menu displays and pay. According to Cobanoglu, QR codes are “not expensive or difficult to implement.”
- If diners don’t have smartphones, some restaurants are implementing large digital screens for customers to order from.
Major names in Fast Food Share their Secret Recipes with Consumers.
While foot traffic is non-existent, restaurants are releasing their “secret recipes” to create streams of revenue. Emphasized by the coronavirus crisis, digitalization is narrowing the gap between operators and their customers, which is forcing operators to pivot strategies. Specifically, Nando’s has shared the recipe of its peri-peri rice bowl.
What does this do to a company’s competitive edge? It’s not merely a marketing gimmick to increase customer engagement but allows customers to duplicate their favorite restaurant dishes at home perfectly. According to GlobalData’s Coronavirus Tracker Consumer Survey, at least half of global consumers stated that they only want to buy products from their favorite brands. The findings from the survey match the rising trend of cocooning, or customers wishing to recreate in-restaurant experiences and products from their own homes. This works for brands, like Nando’s, that have a hugely loyal following to create a small, but unique revenue stream.
What Will Operations Look Like After States Reopen Dining Rooms?
Some states are reopening restaurant dining rooms. What will the business be like in this next phase of the crisis? In Texas, Governor Abbott greenlit businesses to reopen on April 27, and another wave to open the week after. The Texas Restaurant has written the Texas Restaurant Promise, a list of recommendations for operations to reassure customers about restaurant safety efforts once dining rooms are open again. Best practices that are recommended for operators within the restaurant promise include:
- Implementing a health check of every employee before their shifts
- Certification of every staff member in food safety by a certified manager per shift
- Using disposable items, or sanitizing non-disposable items after each use
- Making hand sanitizer easily accessible and sanitizing settings after every use
- Cleaning and sanitization of surfaces
- Observing social distancing recommendations from health officials
Other practices that are encouraged include closing buffets, contactless payment systems, and limiting parties to 10 or less.
Nando’s Reopens Kitchens to Supply Meals to NHS Workers
Six of the company’s restaurants across the U.K. have opened their restaurant kitchens to cook meals for NHS workers that are fighting on the frontlines against the novel Coronavirus. Four London sites and two Manchester sites were chosen to reopen their kitchens due to their location near or the relationship developed between a local hospital or NHS building. Nando’s, owned by Yellowwoods, an investment firm based in South Africa, has pledged 1500 free meals a day to NHS workers from the six sites. The meals will be delivered to hospitals in the evenings between 6 pm and 9 pm.
Nando’s has asked that NHS workers to get in touch with them if they aren’t receiving meals for staff. According to a company spokesperson, “if this goes well, we will be able to open more restaurants to help more people.” Meanwhile, any food leftover at the end of the day will be donated to charities.
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About the Author
Devyn is the Social & PR Specialist on the Marketing Team. She has a B.S. in Communication and an M.S. in Global Strategic Communication. She liked QR codes (before they were cool) ever since a two-week trip to China. She’s obsessed with true crime and enjoys quality time with her friends and family. Ask her about books she’s read, Criminal Minds, her dog-child, or her favorite cocktails!