There’s no denying that it will take a while for the world to recover from the pandemic but we have to adapt to this new normal and move ahead. Restaurant industry that got highly impacted by the pandemic either survived their way out or have closed their outlets due to the ongoing situation. Here are five key learning’s that restaurant owners and food business operators shared:
Building customer trust: 2020 has been like a roller coaster for all the brands and everyone has observed massive change in their work structure. “The major lesson that I learnt was how important it is to have the trust and support of our customers and how beautifully they have been the moral support for the brand,” said Sneh Jain, Co-Founder and MD, The Baker’s Dozen who believed that for entrepreneurs, it's very important to have each other's support in the time of a situation like the current pandemic.
Collaborating for growth: Sharing resources front end and back end, sharing space in real estate locations, using similar marketing techniques to create great buzz can be a few factors taken into consideration. Like-minded brands can join hands together for various collaborations or create a bigger campaign for brand visibility. Also, sometimes an entrepreneur need is a brain to bounce on and discuss the pros and cons of the business and on how to overcome a situation, sharing an opinion about the same can be very beneficial as well.
“We have been focusing more on safety and sanitization to fulfill customer satisfaction during this pandemic situation. We have also recently announced our country-wide expansion where we will expand our footprints in 15 cities by the end of 2021 and are aiming to majorly shift our channels from B2C to D2C, where we can have direct access to our customers and can develop close relations with them,” added Jain.
Building an online presence: From an online perspective, this has been a phenomenal year for brands across sector. “Our sales have gone up three-fold, particularly during the July-September quarter. The second quarter and in fact, the whole festive period has been the best in Teabox history. We have benefited enormously from a five-year head start we had in the industry. As the entire tea business looks to pivot online post-Covid, we have been able to take advantage of our solid online presence across the world; particularly in India where the traditional model of doing business saw serious impediments in terms of transport, logistics, storage, closure of brick & mortar stores owing to the pandemic and a long and inefficient supply chain,” pointed Kausshal Dugarr, Founder and CEO of Teabox.
Strengthening supply chain: Nothing could have really prepared us for the pandemic and just like everyone, restaurants and food sector is looking forward to a better 2021. “During the lockdown, we managed to deliver our products to customers despite the many hurdles in delivery channels. But then our supply chain was disrupted, as both our coffee capsules and machines are imported into India. Ports were shut, and we faced inventory shortages for a while. However, this experience thought us a lot, it gave us the time to listen to our customers, work on new product requirements, and strengthen our supply chain,” shared Rahul Aggarwal, CEO & Founder, Coffeeza. This year, Coffeeza will also be launching an extended product range of coffee capsules & machines, that will cater to the new ‘Work from Home’ populace as well as coffee lovers who want to enjoy barista-style coffee from the convenience of their home.
Evolve and Adapt: The biggest learning from 2020 is that we need to be agile in order to course correct quickly as per the demand of the situation. It is human nature to evolve and adapt as per the changing environment and conditions. However, the pandemic has meant that industry has to transition faster or face a very sluggish growth environment. “As a brand, we have observed that there is a slow but sure transition of the customers ready to experience craft beer from the comfort of their homes. While the well versed craft beer drinker knew the concept of growlers, the average beer drinker believed that a visit to the restaurant was the only way of experiencing craft beer. Introduction of growlers does not mean that sales of craft beers are going to go down. The sale of growlers is only going to increase penetration of craft beers both inside the home of the consumer and at restaurants,” added Vipul Hirani, CEO and Managing Director, Crafters who foresee 2021 would be an exciting year for the industry as a whole. “Our second outlet in Chembur will be operational by the end of this month. We will start looking for a space for our third outlet in 1Q2021 and hopefully operationalise it by the end of the FY21. If things go according to plan for the three outlets, we will expand our growler station presence to Pune in 2021,” he added.