On Premises Vs. Off Premises Post Covid.

Consumers will continue to use off-site dining after Covid. Restaurants Open as Covid Wanes

More and more restaurants are opening their in-store dining as regulations are lifted and COVID wains.  According to the National Restaurant Association’s research, consumers are excited to get back to in-house dining.  Even though that’s the case, consumers also report(1) that they expect to continue to use off-site dining after the pandemic has subsided.

Many Went Out of Business

By December of 2020, 110,000 restaurants closed either temporarily or permanently as a result of the pandemic. The restaurants who survived had to look for other means of getting revenue. If they didn’t, then they too would have been forced to close.

Restaurants Needed Off-Premise to Survive the Pandemic

Restaurant owners were compelled to look for ways to survive the COVID restrictions, and off premise was clearly the answer. Full-service operators focused on building their off-premises businesses. Of course, those same restaurants needed to dedicate incremental effort on expanding those services.

Fortunately, online ordering through takeout and delivery were able to offset some of the loss caused by the pandemic.

Staffing is in Short Supply

62% of fine dining operators, and 54% of both family dining and casual dining operators, say staffing levels are more than 20% below normal. It’s important to note that off premise dining takes less labor to provide the orders. Operators should make note of this as they re-open. As the operator struggles to get help, they can still rely on online ordering service providers to get customers and revenue, all while minimizing their need for additional labor.

Off-Premises at Higher Levels Even as Restaurants Re-Open

Consumers are excited to get back to on premises dining. At the same time, they also report that they expect to continue to use off-site dining for their convenience. Consequently, restaurants should not discontinue their efforts with off-premises dining via online ordering and delivery post pandemic.  The consumer has accelerated their use of all types of technology during the pandemic. Online ordering is just one of those tools that will stay a part of the consumer ordering habits.

Best Practices for the Future

Taking all of this into consideration, there are simple ‘Best Practices’ for your restaurant in the future:

  1. Seize the moment of getting your instore dining up and running again.
  2. Optimize your labor costs and availability by continuing off site services.
  3. Continue to optimize online ordering and delivery.(2)