US & Global Economic Impact Analysis and Forecasts

Freedonia analysts and economists are sharing their insights on how major events are impacting different parts of the US and global economies.

COVID-Era Foodservice: What’s Next for Cold Weather Months?

The foodservice industry has been creatively innovating and working to solve the challenges of the pandemic era since the coronavirus spread and restaurants and bars were among the first to close and the last to reopen. While the industry has been working through expanded delivery, carryout, and curbside service options as well as a move to dining outdoors, the challenge of the cold weather months is looming. Here are some ways that the foodservice industry is or could be planning for winter:

  • Drive-thru for more than just fast food. Events, such as this one planned for Los Angeles in October and this one in St. Louis, will bring fine dining food to drive-thru safety and social distancing.
  • Carryout out family meals. As more people are getting tired of cooking, but still need to feed their whole family, more restaurants are responding with prepared or semi-prepared meals in family-friendly sizes that feed 4 or 6 people.
  • Outdoor heaters. Sales of these large space heaters, table heaters, and fire pits are red hot as restaurant and bar operators look to expand the season for comfortable outdoor service.
  • Open-sided tents, pergolas, or other temporary structures. Some are even considering private domes or igloos for individual parties. Cities – such as Chicago ­– are responding with updated regulations and guidelines to be sure that such structures are safe and comply with coronavirus requirements.
  • Changing menus. Spicy food, hearty comfort foods, soups and stews, and hot drinks are all increasingly part of menus that will make outdoor dining, even in cool weather, appealing.
  • Food trucks and ghost kitchens. As more foodservice operations are thinking long-term for COVID troubles, many are investing in more permanent, but still flexible, operations that lower their costs and make it easier to get hot, fresh food to their customers.
  • Special, limited-time menus. Foodservice operators are thinking proactively about the upcoming holiday season, considering smaller carryout versions of traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas meals to allow customers who would have normally gathered with family to still enjoy the food comforts of the season.

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see Packaged Facts’ food- and beverage-related reports, including Food Carryout & Delivery and the companion report with timely consumer insights from our in-house survey capabilities, as well as US Beverage Market Outlook 2020: Grocery Shopping & Personal Consumption in the Coronavirus Era and US Food Market Outlook 2020: Home Cooking, Grocery Shopping & Food Trends in the Age of Coronavirus.

The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research provides a strong complement to packaged food industry analysis, including US Restaurant Reopening: COVID-19 Impact on Supplies, Global Foodservice, Surface Disinfecting Wipes, and Global Industrial & Institutional Disinfectants & Sanitizers, as well as packaging industry titles such as Foodservice Single-Use Products, Global Foodservice Single-Use Products, and Global Single-Use Packaging Regulations.

Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

  Covid-19      Food & Beverage