Most restaurants nationwide haven’t been fully functioning since the beginning weeks of March due to coronavirus, but impacts on business don’t stop there. Our world is changing, and local leaders, restaurant owners, store owners, bar owners, etc. in communities across the country don’t take this civic duty lightly. As protestors make their voices heard across the country in regards to the Black Lives Matter Movement, communities must band together to help protect local businesses as they too play their part in advocating for change.
Local social gathering places are taking their social responsibility as leaders in the community very seriously. For example, restaurants and bars are realizing how much support they give to local artists for live music, for social gathering events and advertising of local artists and small businesses, and the well- being of those that make up their community. [i] As life feels more sensitive now more than ever, consumers are finding ways to become healthier, save money, find their passions, and enact change within their local communities.
Restaurant owners say curbside delivery “is here to stay”. [ii] “People aren’t going to want to touch a kiosk,” Chandler said, referencing the contagious nature of COVID-19. “They are going to want to order from a person, where they don’t have to touch anything, or through their own mobile device.” [ii] Business owners are realizing the importance of convenience to the consumer post-COVID, and experts say that that mentality is here to stay. [ii] “The big lesson here,” said Park, “is a level of efficiency while maintaining the same level of effectiveness.” [ii]
As restaurants continue to adapt and respond to what’s going on in our world, menus, sharables (2 for 1, appetizers, etc.), and price points are all factors that will change. The menu at The Spillover, a restaurant owned by Matthew Kuscher along with 7 other full-service concepts in Miami, included many shareables, but “when we reopen, we are remodeling the menu to the appetizer-entree-dessert format, focusing more on salads, sandwiches and entrees,” says Kuscher. “We are also thinking of doing $12 lunch specials from Monday to Friday. I’m not sure customers will casually choose a $15 burger in the future.” [iii] Alcohol delivery from restaurants started as an experiment, but has flourished as consumers crave semblances of their old social habits throughout COVID-19. Regulations have temporarily been loosened in more than half of states, and this so called “experiment” seems to be going well from both a government and operator viewpoint. [iii]
Fortunately, with the way our world was heading pre-COVID, there were a handful of restaurants in larger cities with business plans already heading towards fast-casual and take-out-centric dining, allowing restaurants to continue doing business with minimal restructuring. However, businesses are still lacking overall due to less people being out in public in general and wondering how they will grow in the near future to keep employees employed and rent paid. [i] Now that restaurants are trying to recover not only from COVID related setbacks, they are also facing repercussions of the global movement that is happening related to the Black Lives Matter Movement, both good and bad. Restaurants are becoming more involved in their community than ever before by donating food to local protesters and sharing their voices and opinions like never before. Communities are banding together in support of the BLM Movement and are realizing that not only does their business have to adjust to impacts of COVID, but also in matters related to injustices in restaurant industries and quite simply our day to day lives all over our country. [i] It’s time to make a change, and it all starts locally within businesses and communities putting in the work to share and shine a light on the racial injustices happening all around us.
As businesses begin to reopen and attempt to find a sense of normalcy, there are many factors that come into play. Not only is COVID-19 still very much affecting businesses all over the country, but throughout the last month communities have flipped strategies to support people of color and the huge impact the BLM Movement is having on all aspects of life. Change is happening within our communities and as business owners, movers, and shakers within the local communities thriving on the support of consumers in the area, it is crucial to be aware of the change that is happening and be a leader of change. Head on over to our blog to read more about our predictions in the Restaurant industry.