A recent survey conducted among postgraduate management students who have been under lock down following the COVID period revealed that younger generations of Millennials and Gen Zs have been wanting to dine out and take an occasional break from home-cooked meals. If sufficient safety precautions are taken, restaurants could open and welcome their customers back. Our study focused on what steps the restaurants could take to increase their revenue while ensuring that the wants of the consumers are met.
With a rising demand for food delivery and existing developed delivery services, most restaurants had already extended their services to include delivery services. However, post the COVID lock down, with no dine-in options, restaurants decided to opt for delivery services to sustain the business. It is best to tie up with existing delivery services such as Swiggy and Zomato that have earned the trust and built brand loyalty among their customers. Their existing infrastructure and software will enable the restaurants to offer delivery services at a lower cost. Post the lock down period, trust and safety has become important to the consumers. Hence, outsourcing these services to an established delivery service will increase the customer base of the restaurants at minimum costs.
From the research conducted, we found that a majority of the consumers prefer contact-less delivery provided by these services. The “contact-less” feature should be added to take away and dine-in options as well. This could be incorporated by using software applications that enable online display of menu cards, placing of orders and digital payment. Such software could be developed by already existing delivery services and this would help these third-party companies to gain more traction on their app as well as gain additional income from the restaurants that opted for this option. Contact-less services could be ensured by offering curb side pickup or ‘click-and-collect’ services. The packed food could be served to the customer on a moving platform which runs from the kitchen to the tables and is sanitized at regular intervals or served following safety precautions such as use of protective gear by all staff and social distancing norms.
All staff should wear masks and other gear that helps prevent the spread of the virus at all times. Utensils, seats, tables and gear should be sanitized at regular intervals. All those who enter the restaurant including staff, customers and delivery executives should be asked to use sanitizer and follow social distancing norms. The survey had stressed on the need for staff to be very cautious.
In addition to the safety precautions and norms being followed, there could be live streaming of cooking in the kitchen to enable the customers to watch the process and be assured of the safety precautions taken. This option need not be restricted to take away or dine-in services but also delivery services where the cooking process could be streamed online.
Following these procedures and enabling the latest safety precautions would help restaurants gain trust among its customers and build loyalty for their brand. Consumers who prefer dining out would continue to pre-book tables at restaurants, ensure their safety and opt for dining experiences if the restaurants take necessary precautions.