Perhaps no industry has been changed and challenged by the coronavirus pandemic as much as that of the US restaurant industry. From fast-food to fine dining, restaurants have seen their entire business fundamentally changed in a few weeks – and only to change again as more and more states declare themselves “open” and have eased restrictions.
For many restaurants, being “open” has entailed large investments in a wide range of products to meet new safety guidelines. Such items as plastic shields, gloves, face masks, paper towel dispensers, disposable condiment packages, and vast quantities of hand sanitizer are now the new reality at nearly every dining establishment in the US. In many cases acquiring these items has been a challenge for restaurants, as most eateries – allowed only to do takeout and delivery business – barely made enough to cover basic operating expenses. Now, they face the daunting task of re-opening – often with diminished seating capacity – while spending more on needed safety equipment.
One way in which restaurants can boost sales is to promote their catering operations. As more and more workers return to their offices, it is felt that firms will use food as a way to boost attendance and morale – who passes up a free lunch? Moreover, at many establishments – medical facilities, warehouses, construction sites – workers never left, thereby providing yet another potential avenue to meet customers. While there are challenges – making large quantities of food quickly, delivery, investing in the disposables need to package meals – many restaurants will conclude that it may be easier – and just as profitable – to bring the food to the customer in this era of COVID-19 safety.
For more information, see The Freedonia Group’s reports on Foodservice Single-Use Products, Retail Bags, Global Foodservice, and our sister publisher Packaged Facts’ reports including Food Carryout & Delivery and Food Carryout & Delivery: Special COVID-19 Consumer Insights.