There has been a disruption in the hotel segment. While the lockdown was a dampener for everyone, perhaps the most hit was the hospitality industry. Within this too, restaurants were the hardest hit as there was zero footfall due to the lockdown. Now two years on, the industry has not only survived the pandemic but is starting to look up with new and revamped strategies. Some trends we spotted, which will be integral to the Indian hotel sector…
E-commerce drives growth: Self-isolation during the pandemic gave a shot in the arm to food aggregators, which were already a preferred way of ordering food. Now, when takeaway too was out of question, these apps stepped up their game to meet the rising demands of customers. Restaurants reinvented themselves and introduced contactless delivery for those craving for restaurant food. Customers prefer this method as food reaches them directly and even gourmet outlets are adopting the e-commerce way.
Technology-driven payments and operations: Technology clearly won hand-down during this period and will continue to do so. Along with contact-less deliveries come contact-less payments. Scanning of menus, ordering through mobile apps, self-order kiosks, online payments, etc., were the norm during the pandemic. This trend is here to stay with customers increasingly becoming tech-savvy and preferring to order and pay through these various modes. Besides, menu management solutions, maintaining inventory and staff’s schedule is also done via various tech tools. This automated business flow is found to boost operations and efficiency at all levels and is here to stay.
Home-cooked meals: Thanks to the pandemic that presented several hurdles and challenges for everyone and forced people to cook at home more often, restaurants are re-looking at their menu. This has led to a great demand for comfort and home-cooked food. Besides, home-chefs are the ‘in thing’ these days as they provide these comfort and healthy meals. And no wonder cloud kitchens are all the rage these days. So, restaurants have revamped and reworked their menus considerably to suit the changing tastes of these customers.
Focus on sustainability: With the world becoming more conscious about environmental conservation and protection, and sustainability seeping into every aspect of our lives, the hotel sector can adopt some strategies on this front too. Excluding cutlery and condiments for online orders or using eco-friendly cutlery and containers for deliveries will be the norm. A popular trend is the QR code for viewing the menu that eliminates a paper one. As also, the receipt on the customer’s mobile instead of a printed one will be a trend that will stay.
Safety and hygiene: The hotel industry has always needed to give food safety and hygiene utmost importance and this has become more important than ever now. Though everything is opening up and we are chugging back to our regular lives, food safety and hygiene has become a priority, especially when it comes to dining-in. Besides, restaurants will have to ensure that face masks, gloves, temperature checkers, portable hand-washing stations, air purifiers, portable barriers between sections, fewer tables, etc., are included in their outlet/s to adhere to demanding customers.
With the rising demands of the customers and the pandemic forcing the hotel industry to rethink their strategies almost from scratch, we observed that the above-mentioned trends are here to stay.
About the author:
The article has been shared by Chef Krishna Khetle, a Chef-preneur, and Innovator who is the brainchild behind one of the most popular cloud kitchen’s, Paneer Tikka Masala (PTM), Tafe and Spice Laundry. The creator of several F&B brands, who is passionate about his craft offers his bestsellers under PTM and has also developed 70 plus restaurants across India, Doha, Singapore, London, Budapest amongst other western countries. One of the top 50 faces, Chef Krishna is the top 50 faces of the Indian culinary world, an active member of Western India culinary association.