Post-Pandemic Analysis: Shift In The Food Delivery Industry
During the period of this global pandemic, all food & essential delivery companies, restaurants, and delivery kitchens are trying to comprehend the best practices to adapt, in order to ensure their employee safety at the same time reassuring the consumers about safety and food hygiene. Most of them are following guidelines issued by various regulators like the Food Safety Authorities, Public Health Authorities, and even the World Health Organisation. So, the question is, how many of these guidelines are going to be relevant when society is getting back to its normal course? What should be the new best practices for this industry in a post-pandemic world?
In this blog, we are going to look at some of the best practices that stemmed from this mayhem and are good to adapt in our everyday business operations, even when the chaos is over. We will also discuss some of the promising shifts that may come about in the industry dynamics after the COVID-19 upheaval.
#1 REGULATIONS FOR GOOD
Restaurant brands across the world have been complaining and protesting against some of the predatory practices of various delivery partners. Even during the pandemic, we have read about their uncooperative behaviors. Considering the grave impact of this global calamity on the Dining Out industry, we may see various government authorities interfering in the matter to create a better regulatory environment, leading to a win-win partnership between restaurants, delivery kitchens, and aggregators.
#2 ZERO TOLERANCE ON HYGIENE, FROM POSTER TO PRACTICE
Taste aside, convenience and affordability have always kept the wheel running for many delivery-only kitchens. However, in this social environment, that’s not enough. Unless consumers feel confident about the hygiene level of a restaurant or takeaway brand, it will be difficult to lure them back, even with promotions and coupons.
Brands need to implement beyond HACCP, newer hygiene policies that reduces chances of cross contamination and cooked food exposure. For example, ultraviolet lights may be installed into an HVAC system, to purify air and surfaces 24/7. Companies will be forced to use better-grade surface sanitizers with high levels of alcohol in the kitchen and food pickup areas.
During the pandemic, a lot of brands logged their employee health status and shared the body temperature of their staff with consumers to assure them. However, in a post-pandemic world, with the availability of medication and vaccines, we don’t believe this practice will stay on.
#3 NEED FOR NEW MENUS
Most delivery and takeaway brands will have to evolve their menu post-Covid-19. It is going to be leaner menus, more conservative, simpler. At the same time, it’s important to keep an eye on profitability, including items that have a higher perceived value and can be executed more easily. There might be a shortage of supply leading to higher costs of certain ingredients. With high cross-border regulations, sourcing imported ingredients will be more difficult than before. In such an environment, chefs creating seasonal, locally sourced, flexible menus will get ahead.
#4 CONTACTLESS PAYMENT & DELIVERY IS HERE TO STAY
With the pandemic and forced days of social distancing, contactless delivery became a pioneering solution for the food delivery industry. Consumers are getting used to such a delivery practice. On the brand side, all handoffs are performed without physical contact between restaurant staff and riders. This will create a habit among the stakeholders and eventually may evolve into an operational practice. We also see more cashless, e-payment transactions, including tipping, leading to higher adoption of mobile wallet integrations. Credit card issuers will promote contactless cards now more than ever. Some of the delivery aggregators may create mobile wallets for their customers, thereby adding a different vertical to their business.
#5 FOCUS ON EMPLOYEE WELFARE
Even though the hospitality and food service industry is the second or third largest employer in most countries, it’s still highly fragmented with a sea of independent players. Most workers in this industry are part-timers working on an hourly wage. Even full-time staff are struggling to support their families on a minimum wage. Similarly, the riders delivering food door to door are supported by an unreasonable ‘gig economy, without any assured hourly wage or benefit, relying heavily on tips. A global crisis like this has made everyone realize how important healthcare is for a society, across all strata. Moving forward, there might be directives from the regulators to cover the healthcare plans of all full-time and part-time employees. Alternatively, as a business owner or investor, it is a good practice to provide healthcare benefits along with job security to all the staff members, full-time or temp.
#6 LEANER BUT EFFICIENT TEAMS WILL SUCCEED
Unlike dine-in brands, delivery kitchens can be run by fewer and more flexible staff. During the lockdown period, most brands have functioned with lesser staff. This indicates that brands can perform even with a leaner team and lower labor costs.
However to make this limited staffing model work, restaurants should consider using an experienced and flexible team, cross-training chefs to cover for any possible skill gap, keeping the menu simple with components that can be batch-prepped (during lean hours), prepping effectively to ensure ingredients and packaging are easily to hand.
Brands will have to be more process driven now more than ever with all members multi-tasking throughout the operation. Using an experienced team will ensure the operation is more efficient with minimal oversight required.
#7 SEAL OF INTEGRITY
Restaurants and delivery brands will need to come up with new ways to ensure hygiene and trust with their customers. All packaging has to be properly sealed, double-bagged, and tamper-proof to secure it till the time it's handed over to the customer.
As a delivery-only brand, restaurants will need to use packaging and food presentation as the voice of the brand. Brands may need to include and personalize their messaging around safety and hygiene credentials, informing customers how their food has been handled and reassuring them about high kitchen standards. Consumers can also be guided to a web landing page giving them more information about the same through images or live CCTV feed of the kitchen.
These are our top 7 observations from the ongoing corona crisis and some key learning to implement in our daily operations in a post-pandemic world. To learn more about such industry insights from our team of experts and get access to such operating manuals and templates, sign up for the cloud kitchen masterclass today.