As 2022 arrives, the restaurant of the future becomes the focal point

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More data:

How many consumers order delivery / take out at least once a week?

  • Now: 61%
  • One year ago: 29%
  • Two years ago: 18%

Consumer preference for restaurants to order at least once a week:

  • Prompt service: 62.6%
  • Quick casual: 52%
  • Groceries: 48.7 percent
  • Casual dining: 40.5%
  • Convenience store: 28.2%
  • Gourmet restaurant: 12.5%
  • Food truck: 11.5%

What has become clear is that consumers are already committing to the “Restaurant of the future”. In other words, they want experiences outside of the traditional dining room that offer the same quality and variety that they expect, but also balanced with convenient ways to choose, order, receive, pay for, and consume one. meal. Almost two-thirds (64%) of those polled in the Deloitte study said they did not plan to return to their in-store dining frequency before the pandemic in the next six months. This is a point that will cause restaurants to continue to refine their convenience strategies in order to meet customers where they want to go.

The reason this notion is so disruptive is that it has lit the fuse on something that is already shaking the future of restaurants. In the face of COVID, off-premises sales have grown almost four times faster than on-site restaurant operations, according to Rabobank Financial Services. So, 80 percent of the growth in restaurant sales in US dollars over the past three years has come from the dining room.

All in all, COVID has reset consumers’ expectations of compromise. Convenience should no longer come at the expense of quality. Either speed. For every restaurant that has gone through this bad experience, there is now a brand that strives to get it right. Offsite choice, whether drive-thru or through pickup, digital or not, has been met. A brand might not have drive-thru, for example, but they do offer curbside or pickup shelving. There are many ways to get food quickly.

In turn, customer demands for non-restaurant channels have never been higher.

The preference for takeout and delivery, data from Deloitte showed, remains significantly higher, not only compared to pre-pandemic brands, but also linked to the first pandemic levels in mid-2020.

Seventy-nine percent of customers said they were now more likely to order from ghost kitchens, a trend 20% higher than a year ago and 32% higher than ago two years.

“As the race to win the rapidly growing offsite market intensifies, brands must prioritize investments to ensure the experience is efficient and straightforward for customers, even if it involves fundamental changes in business models. operation, ”said Deloitte.

This could mean adopting kitchen models with dedicated spaces for preparing food for off-premises orders. Similarly, the company added, restaurants could consider expanding drive-thru or downsizing dining rooms to meet growing demand. Small stores; drive-thru formats only, included.

Of the restaurant ordering options, the most popular, at 37%, was drive-thru. Therefore, the rapid movement among fast casuals (Chipotle, Noodles & Company, etc., Pizza Hut may also enter this conversation) to enjoy the suddenly connected digital experience by adding pickup windows in current and future releases. . What Pizza Hut calls its “Hut Lanes” and Chipotle’s calls “Chipotlane”. In the first instance, Pizza Hut actually had hundreds of windows attached to restaurants before COVID. But the disconnected world of digital control we lived in meant that few customers (or franchisees for that matter) saw it as a viable or frictionless option. Thanks to the pandemic and the contactless preferences / systems resulting from this demand, the brand was able to activate “Hut Lanes” at 1,500 locations essentially overnight. In some ways, you could say the pandemic has taken over marketing.

Chipotle launched its 250th “Chipotlane” over the summer and expects 70 percent of its roughly 200 openings this year to include the feature film. These units are driving a 14% increase in the overall digital sales mix and, most importantly, are moving towards more profitable takeout orders.

Either way, whether future releases or add-ons, the white space to serve this practical opportunity is enormous. And drive-thru lines clearly intersect in all segments.

Generally speaking, Deloitte said, recent changes mean that the “smallest” restaurant you visit today isn’t a cozy bistro – it’s a restaurant you can’t really walk into.

“Restaurants should find an advantage in the willingness of customers to order this way. increased sales volume of less real estate, ”the company said.

Delivery also moved upstream. Consumers expect quality, even if they don’t have to leave the couch. Three in five respondents said they now expect the same quality and freshness in delivery and take out as in the dining room. “Areas of investment and exploration could include menu customization to optimize off-site transit time, updated packaging technology for freshness, and new food preparation methods,” said Deloitte.

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