The restaurant industry is facing a new reality with the COVID-19 pandemic. The biggest reality is this industry has never experienced a large-scale event to this magnitude. We are here to show you a few ways restaurants around the U.S. are shaping the industry.
Curbside will be a staple of the industry. Some restaurants have already hopped on the bandwagon of shrinking dining rooms and enlarging drive-thrus. Wing Stop even opened its first U.S. ghost kitchen. The ghost kitchen is a step for the brand to become a top 10 global restaurant brand by going 100% digital. As delivery and digital sales increase, Wing Stop saw an opportunity to get ahead of the evolving restaurant game.
There has also been a shift in consumer focus regarding food safety versus sustainability.
The CDC says that there is “no evidence of food, food containers, or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19.” But, COVID-19 can survive on surfaces like takeout containers. While the risk of transmission from food packaging is incredibly unlikely, experts still recommend that restaurants take extra packaging precautions. Below are some suggestions we have to ensure your packaging is safe for consumers:
- Evaluate existing food safety practices such as temperature control, preventing cross-contamination, hand washing, and food storage.
- Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting high-touched surfaces.
- Properly clean, sanitize, and disinfect insulated bags used to deliver foods.
- Use tamper-evident labels or tamper-proof boxes for delivery.
- Add instructions with all food take-out and deliveries on how to safely handle food and packaging before eating.
- Suggest consumers remove the food from all bags or containers and dispose of it properly.
- Washing hands before eating.
- Sanitizing or disinfecting any surfaces that were used to unpack the food.
Third-party delivery has proven to be on the rise for the restaurant industry. Since the pandemic hit, online ordering rose by more than 25%, with 78% of consumers ordering online as frequently or more often than before. Third-party delivery concepts are having a stronger focus on contactless customer experience. Waitr has implemented contactless delivery by encouraging the practice of safe social distancing. Giving the customer the option to add ‘no contact delivery” to their delivery instructions. The driver will then leave the food, safely packaged by the restaurant, at the front door and knock when leaving.
With the rapid spread of COVID-19, restaurants are pressured more than ever to operate a safe and clean environment for staff and customers. Many restaurants have hired sanitization companies to clean and sanitize their restaurants at least once a week. Others have invested in sanitization machines that make it easy for staff members to sanitize the front and back of the house before and after hours of operation. Some have even gone to the extent of requiring masks and temperature checks for anyone who enters the restaurant. We aren’t here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do for your restaurant. As long as your employees and customers understand that their safety and health are at the forefront of your business.
During these unprecedented times, we are unsure of other revelations that may evolve post COVID-19. The only thing constant in our industry is change.