The restaurant sector is one of the worst-hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reports anticipate about 35 percent of the organised restaurant industry getting wiped out in 2020-21 as a result of the pandemic.
The idea of going out to a café or a restaurant with friends and family to enjoy a hearty meal completely changed in 2020. Due to the lockdown, several restaurants could not bear the financial burden of maintaining the infrastructure and inventory. Even after the lockdown got eased, the footfall remained slim.
A lot of restaurants and cafés (not just in India, but worldwide), are finding innovative and creative ways to survive the COVID-19 crisis. And, if the right road is taken, they might not just survive, but transform into a complete digitally-enabled sector for good. While one takes the digital route, a gradual adoption in sync with the need of the hour might be a wise way ahead.
Make your restaurant feel like a safe spot for guests
In these unprecedented times, when there is a lot of hesitation among customers, one’s priority is to ensure safety. The only way to cope with the situation is that all the necessary precautions, including – social distancing, sanitiser stations, masks, etc., are followed in the restaurant premises.
Further, understanding the altered needs of customers in these times and adapting to the change with a little help from technology might accelerate the recovery of the overall restaurant industry.
Technology helping restaurants cope in these tough times
Digital is the new way forward, and in COVID-19 times, restaurants are opting for digital menus for the safety of their customers. They can be easily accessed using a QR code on smartphones. This new trend is helping build assurance among people as it reduces the chances of physical contact.
Apart from just skimming through the digital menu, various restaurants have made the provision of directly ordering from the digital menu, and making the payment online to safeguard their customers completely.
SAAS-based inventory solutions
It is time to take inventory solutions to the next level. Before COVID-19, there were a few restaurants that used SAAS-based inventory management technology. However, now, more restaurants and cafés are opting for this solution. With SAAS-based solutions, restaurant owners can easily manage their inventory.
Going through past inventories, making comparisons, monitoring consumption, and accessing analytics, becomes a lot easier with this. Together, all of this helps in avoiding wastage and ensures precise operations. It also saves time and effort by optimising inventory.
Digital procurement of products
Managing the inventory and procuring products has become a deity task for restaurant owners due to the pandemic. One of the ways how technology can help them is through digital procurement of products. Instead of physically visiting the vendors or wholesalers, restaurant owners can go through their digital catalogues and place the order online.
Such solutions have streamlined the entire process, made it faster, and also saves chunks as one can opt for the best deal from multiple vendors.
The point-of-sale or PoS system is one of the most common restaurant technologies that have taken the industry by storm ever since the pandemic hit. Although this technology is not new, owing to the changing times when the world is shifting to digital, some restaurants have upgraded their systems, and now they rely on advanced cloud-based solutions that can be easily accessed and operated.
Shifting the focus to food delivery and online ordering
After the lockdown rules were eased and people started stepping out a tad bit more, restaurant deliveries recovered quickly. People preferred ordering food at the comfort and safety of their home.
Also, since most of the restaurants that offered delivery were ensuring no-contact delivery, it encouraged people to order in rather than dine out. This fact can be leveraged by food and beverage outlets to get their business back on the track.
Online food delivery applications that are backed with technology might just become the biggest saviour for many restaurant businesses.
Relying on technology is a great alternative in the current situation. It will give the restaurant owners new avenues to explore, and will help them in various ways to steer through on the path of quick recovery.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)