02 | 06 | 2021

Will post-Covid catering be so different from before?

A wave of change is on the horizon, and with it, the prospect of a post-Covid era. A sector that was heavily shaken up during the pandemic, the restaurant industry has been able to accommodate the various changes that have been imposed on it. But will the post-Covid restaurant industry be so different from before?

The digitalization and democratization of delivery and click and collect

Internet and digital have been at the heart of communication and restaurant business for the past year and a half. They have been a real pillar in the unexpected upheaval of the food service industry.

Digitalization, a must with Covid

With consumers stuck at home, restaurateurs have been able to adapt and reinvent ordering food. Many restaurants have therefore set up ways to order their dishes online: registration on delivery platforms, proprietary solutions, click and collect services. Confined reflexes that have ended up being ingrained in our mores. It is therefore not surprising to observe spaces dedicated to click and collect even once the reopening of the rooms is possible.

Moreover, with the reopening at low staffing levels, table reservation has become a reflex for customers. Digitalization has thus greatly democratized online booking.

The rise of Dark Kitchens

With terraces and rooms closed for long periods of time, only the kitchens were able to keep the restaurants going. It was in this sense that a growing phenomenon emerged: the Dark kitchens. These new forms of restaurants could revolutionize part of the traditional restaurant business. With no reception or service, these "ghost kitchens" exclusively prepare dishes for sale on delivery. This concept, originally American, exploded during the confinements and sanitary closures of halls and restaurants.

And for good reason, this mode of operation has many advantages for restaurateurs: fewer staff, optimized purchasing, fewer dishes and greater flexibility for schedules and the menu. But it requires mastering certain aspects, such as choosing a good location for delivery sales, successfully promoting your Dark Kitchen exclusively online, and successfully building a loyal customer base without being able to host them on site.

A lasting impact on consumption habits

Restaurant logistics were not the only ones impacted. Consumers' focuses and desires have also been rethought as the crisis has come to an end.

More terrace space(s)

Even when sanitary rules are relaxed, the lion's share of space is left for the terraces, which are then taken by storm. Ephemeral terrasses on stilts are appearing, cafes that exile themselves to the opposite sidewalk, to be able to accommodate as many people as possible while respecting the measures.

A preference for local and eco-responsible

The sanitary crisis has also been an opportunity to provide support to local producers and restaurateurs. City residents have gradually begun to turn to independent restaurants, despite the industrial chains.

Since the crisis period, three quarters of French people say they are more careful about the traceability, provenance and quality of the products they eat in restaurants. Restaurateurs and consumers alike have shown their desire to turn to local, sustainable and short circuit.

Highly anticipated reunion

One thing remains unchanged: the French's love for restaurants.

Despite all the changes, consumers are certainly looking forward to returning to the tables of their favorite restaurants. Their reopening, admittedly with some changes, marks a gradual return to the way things used to be.