Covid-19 has made most restaurant kitchen a dark kitchen, Is Brand Trust Next
Covid-19 has made most restaurant kitchen a dark kitchen, Is Brand Trust Next

These are difficult, unprecedented times for every business, but especially for the restaurant and food business. Though, we are still to figure out the impact of the novel coronavirus on the sector and on country as whole, there are few restaurant operators and hotel groups who are looking at deliveries or other innovative measures to continue their businesses.

On one hand food-tech players are partnering with grocery and e-Commerce players. Other restaurants are maintaining foodservice operations by converting their brick-and-mortar business into takeaway and delivery operations.

The online food delivery business is extremely lucrative market in the country at present. It could be a business model that is perfect for restaurateurs looking to break into new markets without a hefty investment and meet their growth projections and it has already proved to be a successful model for players like Zomato, Swiggy and the likes.

Ensure Safety and Health

No matter what time, a brand calls for three things which are definitely- health, hygiene and happiness. Ensure consumer safety and that the products are getting delivered rightly. It will drive lots of confidence in the consumer. “Delivery definitely is the future but I see lots of traction in takeaway. I think India is going to be a country which will bounce faster because we don’t like to sit at home for 2-4 months. Lockdown can be extended for this month but not for more than that as we really need to focus on economy,” shared Sagar Daryani, Co-Founder and CEO at Wow! Momo for whom health, happiness and safety remains priority.

Commenting on the same Vishal Jindal, Co-founder & Director, Biryani by Kilo said, “We are in the business of selling food, it has to be tasty and appetizing. At Biryani by Kilo we are doing delivery from last 4-5 years and we have always focused on food safety and freshness. The dine-in restaurants will also have to make sure how the food is packaged well, it tastes fresh after 30-40 minutes delivery as not every food category caters to delivery like South Indian foods may not be very good for delivery as compared to biryani and pizza which caters very well to delivery.”

Focus on Building consumer trust

What matters in today’s time and age is the consumer’s trust. There’s no denying that restaurants are doing safety standard step of sanitization, temperature, tamper proof packaging and are focusing on safety and hygiene a lot, but it all depends on consumer trust.

“The world is definitely going to divide into pre-corona and post corona world and it is about getting those emotion, experience to consumer. We need to have consumer trust in safe brands and brands doing business safely,” added Ashwin Jain of Instapizza who believed that as people will have less disposable income to spend on cuisines like pizza, biryani and momos and so the value for money and the experience in delivery would be of high importance going forward.

Sharing his view on the same, Karan Kapur, ED, K Hospitality Corp pointed, “There will be more importance of brands today, the brands you know, brands you trust. I think people will be attracted towards brands that stands strong post covid environment.”

The restaurateurs were also of the view that the brands that lay a message in terms of health and hygiene will be long runner at this time. One challenge for this would be, while delivery, takeaway would grow, there will be struggle for restaurant owners as there will be lots of competition dynamics going up.

“In the world post Covid, a new normal may emerge in restaurant operations specifically in seating layouts, addition of channels like take-away and managing overall hygiene for dine-in & delivery," pointed Rajat Tuli, Principal, Kearney.

Summarizing his view on the situation Sahil Jain, Co-Founder, Dineout said, “While deliveries and takeaway would increase I don’t think that dine-in is going to go away completely. If you look at the data in India, 80 per cent of the money is still spent on dine-in because of the ticket size particularly. Dine-in still remains 60 per cent of the market in our view.”

Hence, we can say that the way restaurateurs operate is fundamentally going to change. Restaurants need to work on different formats and experiment whether it is in the form of social distancing, occupancy ratio, turn-around time etc. Technology and information will be key over here.

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