A post-pandemic survival guide for restaurants – News Couple

A post-pandemic survival guide for restaurants

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If the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and its ensuing fallout has taught us anything, it is just how important the restaurant industry is. During the height of the pandemic, only businesses in markets such as government entities, contractors, utilities, food production, child care and transportation were deemed “essential,” allowing them to stay in business as the Covid-19 virus spread across the country and the world. Now, more than a year after the virus was officially declared a pandemic, the damage to the restaurant industry is becoming increasingly more visible.

According to National Restaurant Association data, more than 110,000 eating and drinking establishments closed in 2020, either temporarily or permanently, putting restaurant and food service industry sales about $240 billion below its pre-pandemic forecast for 2020.

As insulting as these stats may seem, these data also highlight the trajectory for the restaurant and food service industry to rebuild, where possible, in 2021.

Related: 7 things diners must do to survive and thrive during the Great Depression

The value of local marketing in food services

Despite the blows the industry has suffered throughout the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, many restaurants and food service companies have not only been able to survive, but thrive. Traditionally, most restaurants and small, family-friendly food service businesses have relied on smaller channels, such as local traffic, events like farmers markets, and other local promotions to drive business through their doors. Covid has thrown that potential for additional growth and sales out the window, severely limiting the growth potential of small, locally owned restaurants amid the pandemic.

As a result, many of these restaurants and food service companies have pivoted to further integrate and leverage digital technologies and platforms to survive and grow during the pandemic. This has allowed these companies to continue interacting with those in their local communities – an advantage that most small businesses have over larger companies in the industry, and one that has been steadily increasing over the past 12-18 months.

According to one survey by Mint Life of Intuit, more than two-thirds of Americans interviewed in the survey (about 70%) said they would prefer to support small, locally owned businesses with online or online and in-store shopping. hybrid platform. Data from the same survey shows us that out of every $100 spent on local and small businesses, nearly $48 (or 48%) was returned to the local economy.

Along with factors such as putting a “face” to the brand and prioritizing customer experience, creating and integrating a local marketing strategy has shown to be one of the most vital aspects that contribute to the growth and success of the small business in the restaurant and food service industry, especially in these unprecedented and unprecedented times. Alongside this, however, is the consideration many restaurants and food service companies have made throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to lower operating costs by lowering their overheads.

Related: 4 Digital Strategies for Small Businesses to Recover After the Pandemic

Low overhead means more cash on hand

The lower internal operating costs related to a restaurant or food service company (or nearly any business, for that matter), the less financial pressure that is placed on that business.

For example, consider the amount of overhead required to continue the successful operation of an Olive Garden at a 7,700-8,500 square foot location compared to a digital-only restaurant brand operating a 500-2,000 square foot “ghost kitchen.” Both restaurants must have enough overhead to pay the monthly rent, utilities, and food costs. However, the overhead required to operate the 2,000-square-foot “ghost kitchen” is significantly less than that of the larger Olive Garden Restaurant.

Many restaurateurs and other business owners in the food service industry may remember the impact of the Great Recession of 2007 on their businesses. During this time, a large portion of restaurants and food service companies — especially the larger chains — ended up filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, or pivoting to adopt a smaller ghost kitchen business model, as the drop in sales left a larger drop in the resulting overhead. from stagnation. For better or worse, the industry experienced a similar boom in both as a result of the pandemic’s impact on the industry, as the number of restaurants and stocked kitchens that were subsequently closed allowed other restaurants and foodservice businesses to gain square feet of space for kitchenettes.

This, in turn, presents an opportunity for those remaining in the industry: With larger spaces consisting of less square footage available for restaurants to rent or mortgage as potential ghost kitchen operations, along with effective digital marketing strategies targeting customers in their local communities, many restaurants and food service businesses haven’t been able to not only survived the impact of the pandemic, but managed to thrive nonetheless.

Related Topics: Food for Thought: Restaurants are going digital to survive and thrive

Create a strategy to survive

What the restaurant and food service industry is currently experiencing is a historical case that, for the most part, is repeating itself regarding the impact of both the 2007 recession and the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020. However, millions of restaurants and food service companies have not been able to successfully adapt to the impact of both Not only did the two events, but it also continued to grow despite the setbacks caused by either.

For restaurants and other food service companies looking for ways to continue to grow and achieve more profitability during these turbulent times, having a successful marketing strategy focused on targeting local customers in their community is a must. The companies that can craft and implement such a strategy, while also brainstorming and implementing ways in which they can reduce their overheads and other operational costs, will be the ones who truly emerge from the ashes of the pandemic more victorious than before, especially as we continue to move forward in the digital consumer world. Super today.

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