Next normal: the moment of truth for the restaurant industry

We are Vegan Warrior Project, an innovative initiative set to revolutionize the restaurant industry with the focus on vegan menus.

Our project helps restaurants successfully tackle the post-Covid era problems.

The National Restaurant Association called 2020 the most challenging year for the industry in its history. More than 110,000 eating and drinking establishments closed in the U.S., and 2.5 million restaurant industry jobs were wiped out.

However, the devastating downturn experienced in 2020 and 2021 is anticipated to be short-term. Global foodservice revenues are projected to rise 3.7% per year to reach $4.4 trillion by 2024, according to forecasts from The Freedonia Group, a leading market research firm.

What is the industry landscape going to look like in 2022 and beyond? Who will be able to ride the wave to the top? These are the questions restaurateurs should ask themselves if they want to thrive in our next normal. Let’s look at how the pandemic has changed the industry and consumers, while trying to figure out which trends will stick.

Experts warn against the unrealistic expectation that things will just go back to the way they were before Covid. They won’t. We all have learned so much during this time, and nobody wants those lessons wasted. The restaurant industry must adapt to this new reality.

Habits learned by consumers during the pandemic won’t go away. There are some surprising ingredients in the post-pandemic food story. People have learned to buy fresh food, eat at home, and enjoy the experience. The latest data from Deloitte’s Global State of the Consumer Tracker shows that many consumers will be buying fresh food and cooking more than they did before the pandemic.

“As excited as some consumers are to eat out in restaurants once again, 1 in 3 consumers say they will be dining out less than before. Restaurants will likely benefit from an ongoing interest in takeout and delivery—40% say they will do this more than before—but this is also food for at-home consumption,” the report  states.

This marks a major shift.  Since the 1960s, the share of disposable income spent on food eaten at home shrank steadily each year while food eaten away from home grew—until each was essentially tied 50/50 prior to the pandemic. Experts agree that the trend is going to reverse now, because consumers expect more working from home to continue past the pandemic, and it’s easier to choose healthier options from home. When they want restaurant food, they are more likely to order it for delivery.

It is pretty obvious that we are not moving towards the roaring 20s, as some were hoping, people may not flood the restaurants, but that’s ok! The global foodservice market is primed for growth! It’s just not happening in a traditional way. The growth is defined by continued adoption of advanced technologies to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and increase sales.

“Online food delivery is becoming more and more popular, delivery networks are expanding, virtual kitchens are taking over,” says Ross Glick, co-founder of Vegan Warrior Project. “The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption and tech innovation. Old analog systems had to be quickly transformed as restaurants pivoted to online, contactless ordering. The intense challenges of the pandemic and the cutthroat competition within the foodservice industry will continue to accelerate innovation and force restaurants to rely more on digital technology.”

Ethical considerations and sustainability will remain a key factor. Technology is not the only way restaurants can boost revenues. Offering higher-quality menu items and ethically sourced ingredients is another popular strategy. Particularly in mature markets, consumers are increasingly looking for foodservice options that minimize environmental impacts and align with their healthy eating lifestyles.

There you go. If you want your restaurant to thrive in the post-pandemic reality, you need to pivot to delivery, become tech-savvy, and serve delicious food that is healthy and doesn’t harm the environment.

Vegan Warrior Project checks all the boxes! If you are looking at the new restaurant industry landscape and don’t know where to start, start with us. We help restaurants to maximize their kitchen capacity and bring in additional revenue by connecting to our network of plant-based delivery concepts. Vegans and meat eaters alike are craving delicious and healthy food, and with our help – your restaurant can deliver! We are also a socially responsible and environmentally aware team of professionals that believes in a more sustainable future for the planet if we start saying no to animal products. Contact us and learn how you can become a Kitchen Fulfillment Partner. The next normal has incredible opportunities, you just need to know how to leverage them.