As the hotels and restaurants are opening their doors to the public, now is a good time to predict the trends that may or are certain to emerge in the otherwise fascinating and vibrant industry of food and beverages, thanks to the abruptness of the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused the entire industry worldwide to stop their tracks and pause for a brief moment. Here are some estimated food trends that will accelerate post the pandemic.
These challenging times have forced the diners, restaurant chefs, as well as restauranteurs to lead to a more conscious functioning. Smaller formats with minimal expenses, home delivery kitchens for comfort, and value-added dining shall be the new rules for eating out, mainly. The aim will be to utilize resources in the best possible manner in terms of seasonality, ingredients, recognizing the produce one gets, and the people growing it.
Decline of street food; the rise of pop-up kitchens
Whether we’d like to accept it or not, street food like bhel-puri, samosas, vada pav, and sandwiches will take some hit, especially by the middle-class folks who would save themselves from consuming anything and everything that seems unhygienic or suspicious. Opportunity, therefore, will boom for small-time caterers and home-chefs who would be willing to supply fresh meals from their home kitchens, in a clean, safe, hygienic, and reliable packaging. Not that the concept never existed before, but the number will most probably spring up.
Limited attendance at restaurants
Maintaining social distancing will prove to be the biggest bane for the whole of the restaurant industry. Patrons themselves in any case would want to keep a distance. Plus, ‘chilling out’, a common term among millennials will see a drastic drop or in an extreme case, may not even exist. Doomsters predict, the business will take nothing less than a minimum of two years to revive.
Increase in takeaways
Takeaways are much cheaper than dining at a restaurant, and in fact, just as good in quality as the latter. Since the inception of food delivery platforms like Uber Eats, Swiggy, and Zomato, India has become more of a home-delivery market than earlier times. With the recent kind of distrust and fear due to the virus, it is possible that most customers in the near future would rather prefer a takeaway from their favorite restaurant for greater safety, as opposed to exposing themselves to risk getting conveyed through a delivery person.
Single portions only; no sharing
Sharing is caring will no longer be the mantra in the post COVID era. It’s not just going to be about contact-less service but also about minimal contact between those sharing the same table. Restaurants, lounges, and bars will need to re-examine menus, prices, and portions to cater to this new normal. So, for instance, pizza by the slice may now be a portion in itself, than whole pizzas, probably!
Not just the food and beverage industry, all the sectors will need to evolve and embrace the ‘new normal.’ The ones who fail to do so will not be able to sustain and cope with renewed realities.