As part of our study of the effects of COVID-19 on the food retail and food hospitality sector across Ontario, we surveyed employers and employees to understand the effect that the pandemic had on their employment status and personal well-being.
We had 490 completed surveys from June 2020 to June 2021: 290 from employees, and 200 from employers. Participants were working across all sectors of the industry, and represented fast food outlets, restaurant, bars and pubs, grocery and convenience stores. Of the participants, 53.5% were women.
Our survey results revealed a lot about financial hardship during the pandemic. Half of our sample (50%) experienced decreased weekly earnings, and over half of the sample (55.8%) had decreased hours of work. Over one-third (36.6%) of employees felt ‘some’ or ‘a lot of’ pressure to go to work sick or unwell.
As a result of decreased hours and income, many participants indicated that they were worried about being able to afford housing and food. Approximately 25% of participants overall were concerned about housing, and 10% worried about being able to afford food; the numbers show that more employees than employers reported these concerns. A restaurant worker Windsor, ON, said the following in the Spring of 2021: “I have been laid off 7 of the last 12 months. Financially this has been pretty dramatic, pretty catastrophic“
Food hospitality businesses frequently had little or no warning of the rotating lockdowns put in place by the provincial government to control the spread of COVID-19. This inability for employers and business owners to plan for lockdowns caused substantial food waste and revenue loss. Consequently, many business owners reported major declines in business performance during the pandemic – more than 60% that had reported having excellent or ‘good’ performance pre-pandemic, reported that their performance had declined to ‘satisfactory’, or ‘poor’. A restaurant owner in London, ON, reported in the Summer of 2020 that: “…our sales dropped to 7% of a normal month…and this business has been profitable for 12 years.”
Infrastructure was a major theme that came up in the interviews and surveys. Physical (e.g., patios) and digital infrastructure (e.g., new websites or ordering systems) changes were necessary during the pandemic for businesses to survive. This move resulted in unexpected costs, but those who had such systems already in place had less ‘catching up’ to do. Rotating lockdowns often made these changes and investments unexpectedly useless and ineffective, leading to even more strain. Those lucky enough to have existing or space for new patios were able to pivot and keep revenue coming in, despite indoor dining bans.
Twenty-six percent of participant employers reported that they began their delivery service because of the pandemic, and 32% reported that they began an online ordering and pickup service during the pandemic. Many businesses began to offer both services as a way of building business.
Finally, we asked participants where they saw themselves in a year. Most employers (63.8%) saw themselves remaining in the sector,
and many reported having increased their own work hours and being more ‘hands-on’ by taking over activities that were once done by part-time staff. Conversely, many employees expressed a desire to find a job outside of the industry with 46.7% indicating a likeliness to do this within one year. Additionally reported 46.9% that they were thinking about going back to school, and 22.9% reported that they were contemplating retirement. These findings may explain the labour shortages many businesses are currently experiencing.
The restaurant industry is a demanding and expensive profession. Owners must often expend considerable effort before financial success and employees frequently work through high stress customer service interactions. As with many examples across the globe, the pandemic has created barriers on top of pre-existing issues, especially in the food retail industry, which is now facing a financially unstable future. Restaurants Canada estimates that 10,000 establishments have closed since March 2020 (Restaurants Canada, n.d.). This statistic on its own is staggering but when you consider the number of jobs lost and the money that is no longer contributing to the economy, it becomes devastating. Many have experienced upheaval in their personal lives as steady sources of income have disappeared.
In response, the government’s mandate to this catastrophic job loss and financial insecurity included programs and grants such as CEWS, CERS, CRB, and CRSB (Government of Canada, 2021). These programs created a much-needed safety net, keeping numerous Canadians within the food retail industry and beyond, fed, housed, and in business. However, the conversation on whether these programs are sufficient in meeting the public’s needs is still evolving. Both food retail owners and employees have begun asking the question, if a universal basic income (UBI) has a place in addressing the social inequities that are steadily becoming more evident due to the pandemic. Some individuals in the food retail industry have spoken openly supporting UBI as a key change that is particularly necessary in the food retail industry.
“CERB has been amazing… it’s kept me housed, and able to pay my overhead for the time being… I am praying actually that they keep that in place. The fact is my hope and prayers for the folks like me is that they basically institute a UBI.” Food retail owner – Kitchener
“I support a universal basic income especially for low-waged restaurant workers and other people in the service industry. There are people in this industry getting paid $12.20 an hour and expecting tips and we know people don’t tip well and that’s a fact.” Food hospitality owner – London
Although there was some hope within the industry that CERB would simply be a steppingstone to UBI, this has still not come to fruition. The desire for a transition to UBI may have been brought about by pandemic related anxiety that numerous workers and employers have experienced. The Ontario UBI pilot conducted before the pandemic indicated that numerous participants had improvements to their mental health, specifically reductions in instances where they felt angry, anxious, or depressed (Ferdosi et al., 2020). This implies that UBI could be a means to combat the poor mental health that people are experiencing due to income insecurity caused by the pandemic.
“If I, somehow managed to qualify for some kind of a basic income, it meant that I wouldn’t have had to work so hard. And now, I would not be in this kind of health. Stress is definitely where I am now after last year which is basically a health crisis. Oh gosh, I can’t do that again. We have to modify yet again because of health reasons. So, I could have slowed down, we could have still made money…but not being quite so desperate because it felt, and it still feels quite desperate. Now it’s a matter of, okay so what do we have to plan for this year.” Food retail owner – Ayton
Moreover, UBI is described by some as an investment in the potential of Canadians. Differences in socioeconomic standing means that some people are not in a position where they can take the risk of starting their own economic venture. A basic income could provide people with the financial security to take larger creative risks and allow for more small business start-ups. Supporters of the program, claim that within 5 years of its institution, UBI could create 600,000 new jobs and could generate $80 billion per year for the Canadian economy (UBI Works, 2020). Any extra starting capital could be advantageous to the food retail industry as it would lower the investment barrier that is currently in place to start new restaurants.
“It’d be really nice to have universal income. It has been nice being able to– like right now I’m trying to start my own business, so I’m able to use the income I’m getting from the government to fully develop what I’m trying to do for my business, and I don’t feel like there’s as much pressure on me.” Food retail employee – Toronto
However, there are concerns about whether Canada can currently afford a basic income program given the amount of debt the country has taken on to fund pandemic recovery programs. In the last fiscal year, Canada reported a deficit of $381 billion and government estimates say that instituting a UBI could cost as much as $93 billion by 2025-2026 (Tasker, 2021). The other major question is if the money to fulfill this hefty price tag might come from within the Canadian economy.
Additionally, there remains the question of whether people would continue to work if they were provided with a guaranteed income. In many cases, restaurant owners struggled to rehire staff that were collecting CERB since they were making more money and had less risk of exposure to COVID while laid off than when they were working. This poses a barrier for implementing UBI. If the government chooses to put forward a pilot, it would be worthwhile to ensure that individuals are not forced to choose between receiving income through this project and being employed. Therefore, any model that is used as a UBI pilot should take into consideration both the needs of owners and employees to ensure that the program is equitable.
“The challenge, funny enough, actually came from the fact that because the CERB payment was so high, none of our servers really wanted to come and do that because they wouldn’t have benefited from it. So, I think CERB was a big problem because it incentivized people to not have to work, which was wrong.” Restaurant owner- Elora
In conclusion, the pandemic has been highly destructive to the livelihoods of many people working in the food retail industry. Government programs have been helping to alleviate some of this financial insecurity but proponents for basic income believe that the government can do more to help Canadians’ financial security. UBI could become a system that supports the creativity and wellbeing of Canadians regardless of their economic standing. However, there are some questions that need to be addressed. If the government chooses to go forward with a UBI pilot, the priority must be transparency on the financial feasibility of this project as well as the equitable delivery of funds so that the economy continues to function.
The effects of Covid-19 on the retail food environment have been felt across the Province, however equity-deserving communities who face systemic inequities, effects are being felt in unique ways. Gender-based analysis of the effects of Covid-19 and the retail food environment can contribute to the understanding of the risks these inequalities pose to the vast number of individuals representing equity-deserving communities participating in the food retail economy. In Ontario, women are consistently over-represented in low wage front-line jobs, holding nearly 60% of minimum wage jobs (Ontario Pay Equity, 2021). These are the jobs that are bearing the brunt of the economic losses brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic (CBC, 2021). Women’s low earnings are especially a concern for 82% of lone-parent families headed by females. Further, the rate of low-income is consistently higher for female-headed lone-families than for those headed by males (Ontario Pay Equity, 2021).
The FRESHER research team has spent months interviewing participants in the retail food environment across Southern Ontario to determine how Covid is affecting them, and how they are fighting back. Of those interviewed where personal information was disclosed, the number of women interviewed was almost double the number of men interviewed.
Some women who were interviewed discussed their struggle to maintain economic stability while caring for their children. One cafe owner noted that she was struggling to stay afloat due to the loss of revenue brought on by the pandemic. Even with the help of government grants, she struggled to cover expenses on top of taking care of her children.
The struggle to take care of children during the pandemic has significantly affected single mothers. One employer interviewed expressed specific concern for the single mothers employed at her restaurant. She mentioned that these women would be in dire straights if they were to be laid off – Food Hospitality employee from Waterloo. Lost wages can be detrimental for single mothers struggling to pay for food and housing for their children. An interviewee mentioned her concerns for housing for single mothers stating, “It’s not my jurisdiction, but I really took it to heart to fight for people who are getting evicted and to allow them to eat or stay in their homes or provide them an alternative situation that they can be in, because a lot of them are women. A lot of them were single moms with children, multiple children. It was really stressful to even fall asleep knowing that someone is in that situation so I’m happy to say that, as much as we had a lot of stuff going on, we were able to rise to the occasion and serve the community in the best way that we could.” – Extra sectoral stakeholder from London.
When discussing support that has been received during the pandemic, interviewees mention receiving support from provisions of PPE, CERB for laid off workers, and government support for business owners. Despite the noted gendered effects, no interviewee mentioned any actions being taken by the government to specifically counter these effects. Although there are supports available through family support centers and crisis services, along with governmental funding available for low income workers and families with young children, the inequalities women face in the food retail environment have not been eliminated. When government supports are not enough, it appears that the responsibility of supporting women in the food retail economy has fallen on those within the industry including employers and individuals involved in the regulatory process to do their best to support women and single mothers. Perhaps governments should consider additional interventions to support these groups.
Farmers in the Pandemic: Self deliveries, Increased Product Offerings, and Online Ordering
It has been one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, sending many food retail businesses into a frenzy. With many employers scrambling to redesign their ordering methods, reorganize their employees, and adapt their businesses, farmers were one part of the food chain that were hit hard.
When CERB came out last year, many employees chose to drop out of their work because it would be safer to stay at home and still have a consistent income. Losing employees is always hard on businesses, especially in places of increased demand for food products and reliability on physical labour, such as farms, restaurants, and grocery stores. Many had to make tough decisions on what aspect of their business that they had enough resources to support. A commercial farmer in Ayton, Ontario initially decided to open for curbside pick-up for those willing to visit the farm. However, later in the year, they ultimately adopted a strategy to close down visitation into the farm and reuse the money that they would need for PPE and cleaning routines, to other priorities such as putting together a cohesive website, social media, and an efficient delivery service.
“In the winters we could, and did, have individuals or family bubbles come out and do farm visitations. But there is costs for when we book in somebody to come out for an hour and a half… we need to pay for that (referencing PPE and increased staff). Instead, we could be doing other stuff with that time and resources like putting it towards gas for deliveries or website design.” – Farmer in Ayton, Ontario
In person deliveries have increased during the pandemic, with farm owners and their employees often willing to drive to people’s homes for personal delivery. This has increased farm-to-customer relationships and helped boost morale during isolation periods, especially amongst rural communities. Since the closing of farmers markets, local farmers are able to stay connected to their regular customers during the pandemic through this way. In addition, farmers have increased product offerings ever since starting in-person delivery services. This has increased interest and online orders but does come with added costs and time for the often labour-strapped farm businesses.
“We also had to increase our product offering greatly. When we were doing markets, it was just our dairy, lamb and wool products. For online we said, if they’re going to spend money and take the time to come on the website, we may as well offer them something else. Plus, if we’re going to be driving in and using valuable gas resources, better to make it worth everybody’s time. Just delivering one thing is silly, we may as well try and offer what other people are offering. It also kept people coming back. This week they might want some fish, so because we’re lucky enough to have a local stable fish farm right up the road from us, it is fine, we’ll go offer their fish and help them out too.” – Farmer in Ayton, Ontario
During the pandemic, challenges within supply chains impacted food retail offerings and menus. A manager of a popular Toronto flagship chain restaurant described:
“Our suppliers were out of so many products for a long time at the beginning of the pandemic. Just basic stuff, like green onions and tomatoes that we now have to go outsource. It’s one thing if you run out during normal times – you would just run to the grocery store and go buy it, but now when you go, you have to go line up for 45 minutes just to buy some tomatoes.”
With challenges in securing produce and other supply orders for various reasons, restaurants have been forced to adapt their menu and product offerings based on what they’re able to get their hands on. Supply chain issues along with reduced customer volumes cause additional challenges to restaurants offering a large menu. Because of this, some restaurants have reduced the number of product offerings, and in some cases created special limited menus for delivery and takeout. A London-based restaurant owner described how he had to change this menu:
“For the takeout, there’s one appetizer, and there’s a choice of two entrées, and then one dessert. It’s very, very limited. It’s not everything on our regular menu.”
Rather than offering a full menu, many restaurants have opted to cut down their menus and created what is often referred to as a prix fixe menu. Prix fixe, is French for “fixed price” and refers to a type of menu featuring a pre-selected list of dishes at a set price. These menus are most often found in upscale restaurants and presented at social occasions. These menus usually consist of 3-5 courses with 2-3 options per course for a set price. These new menu styles have been becoming increasingly popular and have become a more casual option when taking-out food. This practice allows flexibility in a restaurant’s menu as these prix fixe menus can change as needed. These menus are attractive to customers due to their reasonable prices (perhaps for a restaurant you wouldn’t normally try) and plays on a sense of urgency due to its limited time offer. Furthermore, this practice allows restaurants to adjust their menus based on product availability and avoid food waste, two important strategies in the times of COVID-19.
In past years, events such as Winterlicious and Summerlicious have been held in the City of Toronto and consist of a prix fixe program offered by 200 of Toronto’s dining establishments. Recently, Save Hospitality, an organization to connect with various levels of government to address the impacts COVID-19 has had on independent restaurants throughout the country, held an event called Localicious as a way to promote and garner support for local restaurant businesses. During this past year of COVID-19, communities have realized the importance of a strong and resilient local food scene and events like these may be of interest to Business Improvement Areas and other stakeholder organizations as a way to promote eating local while providing customers with the opportunity to try new restaurants.
As we enter the 1-year anniversary of the beginning of lockdowns in Ontario, there has been an opportunity to reflect on what strategies have allowed food retail and hospitality businesses to stay afloat and continue offering services to their community. One of the most encouraging strategies was the spirit of collaboration between businesses. FRESHER has documented several examples of how local vendors have been teaming up to sell or promote each other’s products to their individual customer base. Although not a new concept, the importance of these collaborations has been showcased during the past 12 months.
One simple partnership took place in London, where a local formalwear seller offered a discount of up to $250 on suit purchases when a receipt from any downtown restaurant was shown. An owner of a downtown restaurant said that this example was one of many that he had noticed. During these times, many businesses have chosen to work together instead of trying to survive alone. He also noted that many of his customers specifically requested receipts to take advantage of this promotion.
Another example of collaboration was in Thunder Bay, where local sports bars have coordinated their beer deliveries together so they can cut back on costs and still provide consumers with the specialized beers they enjoy. Additionally, Sleeping Giant Brewery Company in Thunder Bay promoted their yearly “Craft Cares” promotion, which donated $0.50 from every product sold to local organizations, among them being local restaurants which they credit as part of the success of their brand.
These are just a few examples of the resiliency through collaboration at the business level offering mutual benefit and success for all parties involved. COVID-19 has clearly showed us that mitigating the impacts of the pandemic, whether it be health or economic, is an all-hands-on deck issue.
Meal kit delivery services have been growing in popularity throughout the course of the pandemic. The current situation has resulted in more time being spent cooking at home rather than eating out at restaurants. Cooking fatigue has set in for many people and as a result they have been searching for ways to get reinspired in the kitchen. Meal kits are a great solution, as they allow you to learn new recipes, get creative in the kitchen, shorten meal preparation time, and eliminate time spent at the grocery store. Additionally, the instructions are easy to follow, and the ingredients are high-quality. Restaurants all over Canada have also been taking advantage of the meal kit business model. Restaurant meal kits allow customers to receive ingredients that they can use to make fresh meals that are almost identical to what they would receive at a restaurant. So instead of ordering a meal kit in the mail, reach out to a local restaurant in the community to create that experience you may have been missing at home!
Throughout history, the way we design our physical spaces and how we deal with epidemics have had an influence on each other. The cholera epidemics in many cities in the United States in the 19th century, brought about urban design interventions such as wide-ranging public parks, spacious boulevards, and standardized city-wide sewage systems (2). Additionally, tuberculosis epidemics in Europe prompted the birth of modernist architecture. The design of sanatoriums with long walls of extensive windows, light-coloured rooms, and roof terraces were considered part of the cure for the disease, as bacteria was thought to thrive in dark rooms (1).
The COVID-19 pandemic is influencing the future of architectural and interior design as fear of contracting the virus controls our level comfortability with indoor space. Architects and interior designers will need to consider changing health and safety regulations, air flow, and technology that can help improve customer confidence in restaurants (6). Throughout the course of the pandemic, Business Improvement Areas have sought out these professionals to help them find ways to eventually get people back to the main streets to support local businesses and the local economy.
Making the most out of outdoor and open plan space has become one of the most crucial moves that restaurant operators can make right now. Customers are more willing to visit a restaurant if they can dine outdoors in the fresh air, where the COVID-19 virus is less likely to be spread from one person to another (3). In places like Toronto, regulations have prohibited restaurants from offering indoor dining for most of 2020 and now well into 2021. This spurred the City of Toronto to pass bylaws allowing restaurants to extend their patios onto sidewalks when permitted in the reopening phases. The restaurant industry has learned the importance of outdoor dining during this time and the importance of making these spaces just as appealing as indoor dining spaces (6).
“We have a program in place called CaféTO which is an awesome initiative put in place by the City to help create more outdoor space for restaurants and bars in Toronto. The program allows these businesses to convert sidewalks into patios at no cost.” – Property Developer, September 1st
“The big change for us, we’ve seen, is in social distancing. So, in addition to the takeout shop, we’re also opening a new restaurant and bar as well, in the adjoining building to us. We’re actually building the restaurant and the seating plan for it to be six feet apart. We know that people aren’t going to go sit on top of each other anymore once this is over. Those days are gone. So, we are focusing on that in a big way and I think that will become the norm going forward.” – Restaurant in Wellington County, ON, March 2021
A restaurant in Amsterdam created a number of mini greenhouses along the canal that allows groups of up to four people to dine in an outdoor setting without coming into contact with other customers (3). The restaurant’s website states, “Enjoy a corona-proof dinner in an intimate greenhouse” (5). The servers use long wooden boards to bring out the food, so that they never have to enter the private greenhouse (5). Also, Trestle Brewery in Parry Sound, with the help of Parry Sound Community Business Development Centre, has increased their outdoor seating by installing one 10-person yurt and four 8-person domes (7). These yurts and domes are heated allowing them to be used throughout the winter months (7).
“We offer a number of façade grants that we have been seeing businesses take advantage of during the pandemic. Some people used the grant to increase social-distancing signage and others used it to create large windows that open so that they could bring the outdoors, indoors in the summers.” – Industry Professional, November 30th
In terms of the future of restaurant design, architects and designers should also rethink circulation. One-way circulation systems that allow customers to flow in a single direction minimize risk of them coming into contact with each other (2). This could mean having one door designated to entering the restaurant and another door for leaving the restaurant. Additionally, double food production lines are quickly becoming a staple in many kitchens. One line is assigned to dine-in orders and another one is assigned to take-out only orders. Starbird, a fast-food chain in the United States, has built pick-up cubbies at the end of the take-out only production line (4). These cubbies could easily be incorporated in more traditional restaurants and they could even become more elaborate by incorporating heating and lock technology (4). The external design of restaurants is also expected to become more important. For example, more parking spaces are likely to be designated for curbside pick-up and we could even see fine dining restaurants adding drive-thru options (4). For those who have spent times in UK pubs, table-side service may become just as irregular to find here in Canada.
“We are seeing a lot more ghost kitchens popping up and restaurants are utilizing delivery more than ever before.” – Industry Professional, September 1st
The restaurant industry is quickly changing and with that the design of restaurants is also changing. Restaurants are evolving to meet customer needs with temporary solutions such as plexiglass between booths and longer-term investments that include a complete redesign of enclosed spaces. Overall, the role of design and architecture within the restaurant industry is becoming more prevalent than ever before.
Walk down any main street in Ontario and you will find businesses that have boarded up their windows. These closed businesses are often located right next to businesses that continue to operate during the pandemic. In several cases, businesses have been able to remain open because they have responded to the pandemic situation with creativity and flexibility. Creative responses could be anything from a change in product offerings to altering their entire business model. For example, pizzerias such as Chef Bondi Pizzeria in St. Thomas, Ontario have created make-your-own-pizza kits with dough, cheese, tomato sauce and other toppings as a fun product for customers to make on their own time at home. Additionally, a restaurant owner in Vancouver decided to add a European-style market section to his tapas restaurant. He has continued to sell grocery items such as olives, cheese, almonds, rice, tinned fish and liquor even after the restaurant was allowed to reopen, as it has become an additional revenue stream to his main business. Throughout the pandemic, business owners have been coming up with creative ideas that they are putting into action with great success.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, we created a grocery-style delivery service where we delivered fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meats like chicken and pork and premade food every Saturday. We are basically running four different business models and seeing which one is the best to go with.” – Restaurant Owner, July 21st 2020
The role of technology in the restaurant industry has become ever more apparent in recent months. Restaurant owners have placed increased attention on adopting new technologies to meet customer needs, cut costs, and increase efficiency (6). However, as the pandemic continues to impact this industry, restaurant owners are turning to more innovative technologies that can help to keep their businesses open.
“There have been some positives to come out of the pandemic. It pushed us to move into the digital space, which we weren’t doing before.” – Restaurant Owner, November 25th
One of the ways that restaurants in Ontario are embracing new technologies is through ‘virtual/ghost kitchens’. These refer to food preparation spaces that only serve take-out and delivery products. These kitchens are changing the game in the restaurant industry because they allow restaurants to eliminate rental costs associated with operating a highly visible storefront and dining room (6). The virtual/ghost kitchen concept relies on online ordering and third-party delivery services (4). With the increased interest in food delivery and the concerns that consumers have with dining in restaurants, ghost kitchens are rising in popularity all over Ontario.
“There was a restaurant space we had in mind on the west side of Toronto, the location wasn’t great, it wasn’t on a Main Street. We just completed a ghost kitchen deal there like two weeks ago. That particular group partners with a bunch of different restaurants across the city to produce food that goes out for delivery. This is a trend that absolutely makes sense and we’re going to see a lot more of it.” – Restaurant Industry Professional, September 1st
“At the beginning of the pandemic, it was just takeout and delivery. Even now most of our sales come from takeout and delivery.” – Restaurant Owner, November 23rd
Another technological change that is being quickly adopted by restaurants in Ontario is digital payment. A 2020 survey by Travis Credit Union found that 50% of those surveyed have less cash on them than prior to the pandemic (3). Also, three in five people, don’t believe that they will go back to using cash regularly when the pandemic is over (3). It is believed that paper currency may increase the chances for the virus to be spread from one person to another. Therefore, many restaurants have introduced ‘no cash’ policies to lessen the risk of infection for customers and employees (2). Due the COVID-19 pandemic, digital payment options such as smartphone-based payments and Tap n’ Go are being adopted by restaurants in Ontario at a rate much higher than in the past.
Virtual menus have also been on the rise as physical menus can pass through many hands at a restaurant, increasing the chances for the virus to be spread. Although many restaurants have strict policies in place to clean menus, in most cases this is not enough to make customers feel comfortable (2). This is why many restaurants have made the switch to using digital menus that can be viewed on any mobile device when a QR code is scanned with their phone’s camera (1). This option not only meets customer needs but also cuts the costs of having to print physical menus.
Screens within the kitchen and dining area is also a trend that is rising in popularity. Kitchen screens can speed up the time it takes to prepare orders and limit the passing of paper from one hand to the next. Table/reservation management systems also increase efficiency by freeing up employee time, reducing customer wait times and limiting employee and customer contact (5). Self-ordering kiosks, such as the ones used at many fast-food outlets over the last few years, are also being quickly adopted by more traditional restaurants.
Restaurant operators need to make sure that they are meeting consumer preferences now more than ever. The attention that is currently being placed on health and safety could push the industry into a new era (5). Within the current climate, restaurant operators need to not only make speed and convenience a focal point, but also health and safety. Technology solutions that allow operators to meet the needs of their customers by serving them remotely and offering touchless ordering options are key to the survival of the industry during the pandemic.
“It doesn’t matter what type of business you have you just have to pivot. You know, this ain’t basketball we are playing. We’re playing with grenades and live ammo – it is warfare. It’s unfortunate but that’s the reality.” – Café Owner, November 23rd