Digital correspondent and consultant
The future for many SMB restaurants is unknown right now. With social distancing and hospitality guidelines varying by state and county, it's been a difficult road. The industry itself was originally projected to reach $899 billion in projected sales in 2020, now, that is unknown.
We can predict with some certainty, however, that technology has the potential to empower the restaurant industry and offer opportunities to pivot and change the way its always been done.
Restaurant industry experts know that restaurants must function at 75% capacity in order to achieve profitability. With many restaurants now operating at 50% capacity or less due to COVID-19 restrictions, how do they make up the remaining 25%?
First and foremost -- safety for both employees and customers followed by the rise of contactless and touch free technologies and then reinventing the entire customer journey. It's extremely overwhelming, but when industry leaders come together and technology is available, it can happen.
Profitability is key for restaurants because it's the determining factor of whether they are able to stay open this time. For many small businesses, there may not be a significant runway to hold out if profits continue to be reduced.
Even in 2019, 78% of restaurants said off-premise is a strategic priority for them. The ability to deliver a food experience outside of the physical restaurant will only continue to rise (if not become essential).
...As evidence of personalization’s power, 42 percent of guests will choose takeout from a restaurant if they receive offers tailored to their specific dining history, and another 39 percent will choose to dine at the same restaurant for that reason.
AI and machine learning allow restaurant operators to be creative with food, service and delivery experiments, continually trying different offers to see what works. -Modern Restaurant Management
Restaurant futurist and OneDine founder Rom Krupp has developed a developed an infographic to highlight a three-part plan for “Restaurant Recovery” in 2020 and beyond due to COVID-19. It takes into account not only the integration of technology, but how the entire experience needs to shift in order to achieve profitability.
The three main contributing factors for restaurant recovery have been identified through a combination of research and expert insight from those immersed in the restaurant tech space are:
Each factor above has a specific combination of technology and process that, followed prescriptively can help restaurants to work towards profitability in a socially distanced and contactless environment.