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Top 10 Trends Defining the Food Industry Post-COVID
Prasad Vemulapalli | June 02, 2022



The COVID-19 has taken the world by storm. As the countries are reeling under pressure to outlive the virus, various businesses are struggling to stay afloat. The struggle is going to last for some time. The restaurant industry has also faced a myriad of changes during this pandemic.

Amid COVID-19, restaurant businesses had to adapt to various new things to ensure safety for all. Now that restaurants and hotels are slowly opening up for the public, there are few things that you may still have to consider. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought some new trends in the entire food industry that will be followed even after the pandemic. 

The restaurants had a tough time at the beginning of the pandemic. Online delivery gained popularity over the last couple of months. Ever since the orders have been on the rise, the restaurants have been trying to match the current demands.

Let us look at the top 10 trends that will continue in the post-COVID era.

Top 10 Trends Defining the Food Industry Post-COVID

1. Delivery

The pandemic has changed the habits and preferences of both the customers and the restaurant owners. The changing trends are reshaping the industry, including how they operate, how the food is delivered, and the minimal usage of brick-and-mortar restaurants. In fact, many restaurants have made makeshift arrangements to premises to accommodate the online delivery services.

An online delivery system will allow you to directly take delivery orders from your website, custom app, or Facebook page. It is the easiest way to get your customers to order from anywhere, anytime. 

The delivery management app offers you safe and contactless delivery options. You can integrate all your digital channels faster and have easier access. The app helps you manage delivery service locations, delivery charges, driver performance, and many more.

According to data from the National Restaurant Association’s State of the Industry, 53% of adults admit that takeaway or online delivery has become an essential part of life.

2. Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs have long been an integral part of the restaurant business. They have been one of the key factors for recurring revenue. Post covid, the loyalty programs are not just restricted to getting your customers coming back to you but demand much more.You need to be aware that the loyalty program needs to offer diverse benefits to customers to ensure they avail of your services with changing times.

The loyalty program is not limited to a marketing strategy; instead, you can get the best results when integrated with other programs. Collect the customer information from all across touchpoints to help you curate personalized rewards, marketing messages, coupons, incentives, freebies, etc, to nurture the bond between your customer and the brand.

3. Self Service Kiosks

Self-service kiosks have turned out to be a valuable asset to the restaurant business. They help improve revenue, customer service, and efficiency as customers get to order their food digitally.

Your restaurant can offer customers the option to pay for their order electronically, using credit cards, digital wallets, cash cards, etc. With effective design and implementation, the kiosks can reduce customer wait time. This way, the restaurant staff is also relieved from customer service to a great extent as the customers are aware of the order process. 

The overall experience provided by self-service kiosks has made great strides interms of efficiency and customer service. 

4. Digital Menu

Digitalization has made inroads in the restaurant businesses. Its high time that restaurants adapt to this new technology. 

Digital Menu has robust built-in features that help your restaurant to update the menu anytime. The flexibility to add and remove the food items in your menu is at your fingertips. The ease of use also improves the customer’s overall dining experience.

The Digital Menu presents a user-friendly interface that offers easy navigation and browsing. Some of the most common benefits of having a digital menu are: cost-effective, reduced manual error, attractive content, reduced manpower, easy ordering system, etc. 

Your restaurant can do a lot of things using a digital menu. Invest in the one more suited to your requirements and streamline your restaurant business.

5. Curbside Pickup

Diverse selling practices came to the forefront when social distancing was implemented due to the pandemic. The restaurateurs came up with different strategies to keep their business afloat.

Offering curbside pickup or delivery is one of the smart strategies in the coronavirus era. This practice is here to stay as customers find it very useful and convenient.

Curbside pickup can help boost additional revenue apart from your mainstream business.

6. Upholding Safety Standards

Ensuring the supply of safe and hygienic food is the primary concern. Diners and even restaurant staff are more conscious of the hygiene and sanitizing practices. Maintaining a high level of safety standards is difficult for small to medium-sized restaurants as they have financial and employee constraints. But the need of the hour is to maintain a high level of trust that the customers have in you. This includes providing them hygienic food along with safe packing. 

Also, ensure your staff is in good health to make your restaurant serve better and faster.

The restaurant needs to create awareness about COVID-19 as its chances of spreading through food are low. Many customers are unaware and avoid restaurant food as they believe they might contract the virus by ordering food. Hence, go the extra mile to run messages on your social media to spread awareness. 

People are conscious about buying outside food and are extremely careful while handling them. Many societies are also rethinking their food habits and preferences. The pandemic has changed eating behavior and forced millennials to directly source food products from the farmers to ensure it is safe and hygienic.

Many of the small-scale restaurants that used to thrive as street food vendors are having a tough time. You may collaborate with a delivery partner to safely deliver your food. OrderEm can help you reach out to your clients and make your business booming again by offering you safe delivery solutions.

7. Online Ordering Using AI

With every adversity, there is a rise in innovation to tackle the situation. This time it is the technology that has taken the forefront and enabled an easier shift to many. Some of the most relevant changes include contactless ordering, payments, pickup, and order delivery. The pandemic accelerated the usage of internet-based platforms such as mobile ordering and payments. The ease of making an online order is as simple as a click on the website or delivery app.

The market is also gearing to use AI-based technologies to revamp the food industry. As all restaurants have to manage different touchpoints, this technology is helping you grow across various platforms like social media handles, mobile apps, websites, etc. Starting from the food being prepared to packing to delivery is being controlled by machines to reduce human intervention. With the least surety of when the pandemic will end, these techniques can bring about a lot of change in the way restaurants deal with their specific orders, and also they add another layer of safety.

8. Food Sustainability to the Forefront

All these years, every restaurant owner tried to provide cuisines from across the globe by sourcing the food items to their respective places. But the pandemic had restricted the access and availability of many goods. This had forced many restaurants to shut down as they had shortages or run out of food supply to cater to the menu needs. 

The whole concept of local produce and growing your food has taken a trend.
People have started appreciating the local cuisines and started reinventing the same. Your restaurant can start producing greens and source the food items from the local suppliers.

It’s time to restructure the food industry keeping safety, supply, transparency, and visibility on product sourcing and manufacturing. There has also been an increasing trend in healthy food consumption way more than in the pre-COVID era.

Limiting the usage of plastic and one-time-use containers can help reduce the carbon footprint. Many restaurants used to heavily depend on plastic to store all the food items they procured from around the globe. But now, with local produce gaining popularity, things are changing for good. Thus a great deal of packaging is saved in storing and procuring the food items.

9. Healthy and Organic-Food 

Millennials have shown a change in their food preference and are shifting towards healthy and organic food. This trend is now becoming their lifestyle. 

People are more conscious about the food they eat and will like to order food that fits these criteria. You may come up with plant-based products that the millennials can carry on the go. So stock up your restaurant with some ready-to-eat food.

You can also alter your dishes to incorporate vegetarian substitutes like mock meats for people who crave the taste of meat. Also, showcase some of the farm-to-table menus you have listed in your menu for your regular customers.

Around 25% of Americans have introduced plant-based food into their diet. We are seeing a gradual shift from high-calorie food to nutritious and local food.

10. A New Way of Dining

Indoor dining is a less preferred choice lately. The restaurant owners need to be flexible in adapting to these new changes. They have introduced service extensions to cater deliveries, curb pickups, and even catered for groceries. These options are going to stay for long.

A recent study showed that 54% of Americans had developed a taste for cooking. They have started enjoying the process of cooking more than ever. There is also a huge demand for take-out deliveries, which they love to enjoy in the comfort of their home.
Hence, the restaurants are going to diversify their services. They are planning to offer food bundles and DIY meal kits. This will help the customers to quickly fix their food and cook at their convenience.

Bottom Line

The food industry is busy revamping its structure and way to deliver its customers. You can see a whole lot of variations coming in, starting from becoming environmentally friendly and using local produce, which helps curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The forerunners in this change were contactless delivery, online menu cards, payments, and more. Businesses are striving hard to make it as efficient and convenient as possible. Prepare your business with these new trends to flourish in the post-pandemic times.

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