The restaurant industry contributes about 3% of India's GDP and employs 7.3 million people. It is a key component of the country's service sector as per reports by NRAI. But the pandemic shrank the restaurant industry by 53% in 2021. Yet, the pandemic also led to emergence of four new trends in restaurant space:
Contactless Services: You must have seen QR code-based ordering in places like Taco Bell and McDonalds. The rise of social distancing and health consciousness led to mass adoption of such contactless services. Now 1/3rd of Indian eateries use QR codes. Customers can enjoy a fine-dining experience by accessing digital menus and placing orders with minimal interaction.
Delivery Apps: The pandemic brought a shift in food consumption habits with online food delivery taking center stage. A Statista survey revealed 51% of respondents aged 16-24 and 72% over 55 plan to continue using delivery apps post-pandemic. This rising demand has led high-end restaurants (which previously offered only dine-in) to embrace online delivery and make their food offerings more available to more people.
Cloud Kitchens: The extra demand for online food delivery boosted the growth of cloud kitchens too. This model of restaurants has become an low-cost opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to enter the restaurant space.
Expanding Spaces: Shifting consumer demands for limited interaction and contact have encouraged restaurants to expand or create additional outdoor areas. As a result, many establishments have moved to external or rooftop spaces, building city-view terraces, open-sky dinners and open experiences. These changes provide customers with more breathing room and an improved dining experience.
While the pandemic posed significant challenges for the restaurant industry, it also served as a catalyst for game-changing innovations. As technology continues to develop, the restaurant industry will adapt and make more improve customer experiences further. Can you think of one more trend shaping the Indian restaurant industry?
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