The pandemic revealed new challenges for restaurants
Delivery apps like Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes helped local restaurants keep their doors open.
By Noah Aquino, Clélia Diamani, Kaitlin Hartley, Hana Yeung
When Premier Doug Ford banned indoor dining as of January 12, 2022, due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, many local restaurants were left to wonder how they would keep their doors open after just recovering from the last lockdown. There were options to support local restaurants, such as takeout and using food delivery apps, but adjustments have to be made in order to make it work.
“Also the amount that you’re doing, so when you’re doing takeout you sell a lot more of something than for dining. So, you know we pride ourselves we make our own burger buns in house and stuff like that, but for takeout it was important to get something that could hold on to, you know, the juices that we set for more than 20 minutes, 10 minutes 30 minutes, depending on you know how far someone was ordering from. So we thought about all of that. So we would test different products to make sure that it tasted well.” – Ronnie Fishman
The dining experience was different, but the taste was the same.
Even with the new apps and their customers ordering take-out, without the indoor dining experience for months on end with constant re-openings, some restaurants weren’t able to re-open. Luckily, Ronnie Fishman could keep their restaurant running. Fishman is the general manager of Aloette, a restaurant in Toronto, and relied on takeout for the duration of the lockdowns, hoping their loyal customers would see them through their difficult time. Delivery apps helped, but because of their location, indoor dining was a large part of the restaurant’s personality, and therefore the revenue. So, a few changes had to be made.
“Another challenge was transitioning a restaurant that thrived on dining in and thrived on the guest experience to fully takeout restaurant.” says Ronnie Fishman “I think that we did the pivot really well. Our food landed really well to take out and our customers were extremely supportive. So much so that we were able to open a takeout location.”
As restaurants are struggling to keep their doors open, food delivery apps are reaching a high peak. Customers moved to the dining experience at home rather than going to the restaurants to order. The process is easy, fast and, for the most part, sufficient.
“Using the apps is easy and usually fast, I can’t imagine ordering take out the traditional way anymore,” says Bailey Morgan, a healthcare worker who enjoys the convenience of using the food delivery apps. “At the beginning, I didn’t really like the idea of using an app, but it’s what’s keeping restaurants open through this.”
People appear to have become accustomed to food delivery and dining at home due to their fear of contracting COVID-19 or one of its many variants.
Throughout the pandemic, you can see that delivery apps have been making a profit with every lockdown.
What does the future hold?
Restaurants have noticed that depending on dining experiences is not a major factor in keeping their doors open. Thinking outside the box will be a big factor in being able to differentiate themselves from the current competition.
The restaurant industry has had to adapt to many changes throughout the pandemic. Currently, restaurants are at fifty-percent capacity and will be returning to full capacity on March 1st.