ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- The landscape of the restaurant industry has changed as businesses created unique ways to continue operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s likely to continue changing as it appears, a year later, the pandemic is far from over.
It’s no surprise restaurants struggled to bring in money, but they were able to use technology to their benefit. They also benefitted from streamlining business operations, according to the 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry report.
Released by the National Restaurant Association, the report highlights the impact COVID-19 had on restaurant profits, staffing and operations.
Outdoor dining, digital menus, reduced menu options, contactless delivery, and alcohol to go became commonplace for restaurants eager to continue serving customers.
Moves towards greater use of technology, online ordering, and use of mobile apps as well as expanding outdoor dining, and food bundle deals may stick around after the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the input of 6,000 U.S. restaurant owners.
Between 68-76% of restaurants or eateries said they plan on keeping at least some of the changes made in 2020. Between 22-28% said they plan on keeping all changes.
“While the technology itself hasn’t changed much since pre-COVID-19 days, tech adoption rates accelerated,” the report said. Between 39-52% of restaurant owners invested in “customer-facing technology” and one in four made ordering available through mobile apps.
Sensing a need among restaurant and eatery owners to adapt to a new way of doing business, they are offering non-member restaurant owners a copy of the report for free.