Across the UK, and the world, restaurants are working hard to attract customers back post-pandemic – yes, still. Is it possible that in the middle of 2023 we’re still writing about the effects of the global pandemic on the hospitality industry? If we knew three years ago that we would still be fighting the tidal wave of repercussions on our industry, I believe our moods would have been even stormier and the outlook even bleaker than it was at the time.
But yes, we are, and it’s a sad and frightening reality that some of our partners in the industry are still picking up the pieces of the global disaster, and of course we always remember the many businesses and brands that didn’t survive to see its conclusion. The Covid-19 pandemic caused lasting damage to society and to business – it’s a fact we’ve been forced to accept. The restaurant industry suffered immeasurable losses when they were forced to close their doors to customers. Those customers then became increasingly used to dining at home, and the changes have become so deep-rooted that they’re showing little signs of reverting. Although restaurants have been ‘back-to-business’ for some time, the damage is done, and customers continue to eat at home – a pattern fortified by the increasing costs of going out and the vastly improved provision for cooking in.
So, what does that mean for restaurants? Are they quieter? Are they letting go of staff? And how are they innovating to keep customers coming back?
Restaurants in the UK suffered the highest number of staff cuts of all workplaces during the pandemic. At the same time, unable to eat out, 1 in 5 UK residents took the opportunity to improve their culinary skills, and since Covid, 92% of families have claimed that they plan to continue eating at home as much as they did in May 2021. 72% of meals in this country are now home-cooked. That means a lot of empty tables in restaurants.
How are restaurants coping?
In an attempt to mitigate the damage, restaurants have been offering more delivery services – in fact 130% more than in 2021. And then we started to see some clever and ground-breaking innovation. Restaurants, including Michelin starred Simon Rogan and Jason Atherton, created ‘finish-at-home’ kits, sending customers ingredients and recipes allowing them to replicate their favourite meals at home.
Since Covid, 25% of Brits prefer to host dinner parties as a way to connect with family and friends, and the hospitality industry continues to work to fill their quieter restaurants through social media marketing, like Instagram and Tiktok, to attract their lost audiences.
At Quattro Foods we’re working tirelessly to support our colleagues and partners by creating delicious and convenient food products to supplement and enhance their menus and to make their professional kitchens work more effortlessly and efficiently. Hopefully together we will see our way through our collective recovery to a thriving and successful future.