The restaurant industry has faced severe challenges during the pandemic, including sharp declines in revenue and tremendous labor losses as well as some permanent closures of top performing brands. But nonetheless, restaurants are overcoming these challenges and are expanding to new cities and geographies. Restaurant India spoke to restaurant owners to check how they are overcoming these challenges:
Keeping staff at the Top
Post the pandemic, there is a huge shortage of restaurant labour and staff across the nation. If we look at Data, there were more than 5-6 lakh people who lost their job during the pandemic. And, with everything back to the normal, this shortage is creating a major challenge for the restaurant owners. “I believe that the labor shortage is one of the biggest challenges facing the hospitality industry today. With the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shutdowns and restrictions, many hospitality workers were forced to leave the industry, and some have not returned. To address this challenge, we are focusing on creating a positive work environment and offering competitive wages and benefits to attract and retain employees,” shared Sahil Sambhi, Founder, The Drunken Botanist.
He also added that investing in our staff is the key to success in the hospitality industry. Another challenge is the increasing competition in the industry, with new restaurants and food delivery services popping up constantly. To stay ahead of the competition, we are constantly innovating and evolving our menu and offerings to keep our customers coming back.
Not only this, restaurants these days are focusing on providing a unique dining experience that cannot be replicated by food delivery services and also by staying ahead of the competition.
Innovation is the Key
“Another challenge we face is adapting to changing consumer preferences and behaviors, especially with the rise of technology and social media. We strive to constantly innovate and improve our menu offerings and guest experience to address this. We stay up-to-date on industry trends and use customer feedback to make informed decisions on how to enhance our services,” added Vineet Tushir, Founder Verandah.
The restaurant has also adapted several innovative measures to overcome all the challenges faced by the restaurant sector. “One of the most significant changes we have made is the introduction of contactless ordering and payment systems. This allows our guests to place their orders and pay for their meals using their own devices, minimizing contact with our staff and reducing the risk of transmission. In addition, we have expanded our takeout and delivery options to meet the increased demand for these services. We have streamlined our ordering and delivery processes and have also introduced a range of family-style meal options to make it easier for our customers to enjoy our food at home. These innovations have allowed us to continue providing a high-quality dining experience for our guests while prioritizing their health and safety during this challenging time.
Investing in Technology
Technological and digital innovation is the biggest change that we have seen in the sector in last 2-3 years. From online ordering, getting the food delivered at home to contactless payment and adoption of technologies like ChatGPT and AI in restaurant operations has brought a major shift in the business.
“To address the challenges posed by the pandemic, the hospitality industry has had to implement various safety measures such as social distancing, enhanced cleaning protocols, and contactless transactions. This has required significant investments in technology and staff training to ensure guest safety and provide a seamless guest experience. As the situation evolves, the industry will need to remain agile and adaptable to changing conditions. Changing consumer preferences and behaviors are another significant challenge facing the hospitality industry. Consumers are now more interested in sustainable and eco-friendly practices and seek personalized and unique experiences,” added Suveet Kalra, Co-Founder, Ardor.
He also pointed that contactless technology is one of the most significant innovation that the sector has witnessed. Many restaurants have implemented contactless check-in and check-out processes. Another innovation has been the adoption of virtual and hybrid events. Many hotels and conference centres have implemented virtual event platforms that allow for remote attendance, networking, and engagement. Hybrid events, which combine in-person and virtual components, have also become increasingly popular, allowing for greater flexibility and accessibility for attendees.