If crisis is the true catalyst of change, then we can expect some sea-change impacts on consumer behaviors and expectations. Operators and suppliers will need to respond accordingly. How we plan, go-to-market, communicate, collaborate and interact with consumers is all going to evolve.
We all look forward to “coming out the other side.” Here’s a closer look at what might change.
Increased Use of Delivery as a Percent of Total Foodservice Sales
During the crisis, many consumers have essentially been forced to use food delivery services. Even those who are still able to visit drive-throughs are deciding to try third-party delivery for the first time. This "forced trial" will result in more consumers becoming comfortable with the service long-term.
Consumers are developing a dramatically heightened sense of what they view as safe food-handling practices. For restaurants, this means consumers will have less patience for employees not using gloves and mishandling food. They’ll also be more sensitive to “cleanliness indicators” such as dirty restrooms and overflowing garbage cans. Additionally, consumers will continue to expect to know more about the source and processing of food prior to it getting to the restaurant.
Expanded Sanitization Behaviors
The increased use of sanitizers and wipes will likely continue. More consumers will carry these products and also expect restaurants to supply them. Self-sanitizing of dining room seating and tables will become routine for many as well.
Curbside Pick-up Will Become More Popular
Curbside pick-up offers the best of all options. It’s convenient, the food is hotter and fresher than delivery and there is no delivery person to handle it. We see curbside and other minimal-touch pick-up options increasing in popularity.
In-Store Self-Ordering Will be Reinvented to No-Touch
Consumers have been trained to order using digital pads in restaurants. We are quickly moving to a no-touch world, and digital ordering solutions need to evolve to allow this. In the meantime, we will see an array of compensating behaviors, from using a napkin or a pen, to waiting in line to order through a cashier, all to avoid touching a screen.
Improved Take-out/Delivery Packaging
In our new post-COVID-19 world, packaging will need to be tamper-evident—while maintaining the food’s temperature, moisture and presentation. Operators have been reluctant to use higher-cost take-out packaging because they feel they can’t pass the cost along. Consumers are about to demand it and may now be willing to pay for it.
Expanded Take-out/Delivery for Fine Dining/Chef-Driven Brands
Consumers want chef-driven food, but many of these restaurants have traditionally done little take-out or delivery. This may change. As the demand for take-out and delivery increases, we expect that polished casual and higher-end restaurants will work quickly to adapt their menus, packaging and services.
Whitepaper was posted March 31, 2020