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5 Ways COVID-19 Has Changed the Restaurant Industry (And How to Keep Up)


COVID-19 has impacted a variety of industries that are struggling to adapt and survive. Social media has shown that many small businesses and local businesses haven’t been able to survive the financial impact brought on by social distancing measures.

The restaurant industry has been offering customers at-home dining options via mobile apps for years. Restaurants have suffered in recent months and have seen a shift in how consumers get their food. The industry is changing and restaurants need to modify their business models to meet the demand of the post-crisis world.

1. Industry Downsizing

Many restaurants are being forced to close or file for bankruptcy, indicating that the foodservice industry will see a decline in units. The need to downsize in order to financially survive is causing chains to close underperforming units that aren’t viable. Downsizing in the total number of restaurant units will impact the supporting value-chain, such as distributors, brokers, service companies, and suppliers.

2. Fewer New Unit Openings

With the food industry downsizing, there will be fewer new restaurants opening. Chain expansion plans will likely go on hold as the focus shifts towards rebuilding the existing business. The money will be better spent on rehiring, marketing, promotion, and optimizing operations.

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3. Updated Sanitization Practices

Restaurants have always been required to follow food safety and sanitization practices. COVID-19 has led to new and expanded sanitization practices. Consumers have health and safety on the tops of their minds, which puts sanitization practices on the tops of operators’ minds. Restaurants are becoming stricter with sanitation practices for food handling and for the front and back of the house, leading manufacturers to create new products and solutions.

4. More Efficient Take-Out and Curbside Services

Restaurants have been meeting the consumer demand for take-out and curbside pickup for several years. As COVID-19 pushes more and more consumers to eat at home, restaurants need to make the take-out and curbside services more efficient. Curbside pick-up allows restaurants to control the process, focus on customer service, better food quality, and it decreases worker-consumer interaction. Cutting out the third-party delivery order is safer and more sanitary.

5. Fast-Casual App-Only Ordering and Pickup

Fast-casual app-only ordering and pickup that is socially distant, convenient, and provides quality food are on the rise. Restaurant outlets will allow customers to order via an app and then pick-up their orders in a drive-through. Only having a drive-through and no dining room helps restaurants keep minimal interaction with better quality customer service.

One of the best practices that small businesses can adopt is new features that enhance the online ordering experience. Cuboh is the first online ordering manager that integrates all of your online ordering services together. Co-founded by Juan Orrego and backed by Altair Capital and Good News Ventures, the SaaS platform streamlines online orders.

Punching in orders take a long time, but with all of your platforms on one tablet, all orders are sent to your POS in real-time. Cuboh integrates with tens of app platforms and POS systems like UberEats and Dash40 Ventures.

Managing all of your online orders on one tablet keeps 86ing, refunds, upcharges, deadlines, and more in one place. You can also get insight reporting on one dashboard to maintain reporting integrity. Improving the function of your online ordering system and increasing usability is a great ROI for restaurants of all sizes.

No-touch, no-contact, socially-distant practices are here to stay. Living in the post-crisis world means adapting to change and finding new ways to reach your target audience.