The pandemic caused changes in the restaurant business model that have benefited the long-term.
According to the The Restaurant Industry Report, the shift towards off-premise consumption, the need of more efficient labor deployment and technological innovation will all play a significant role in restaurants’ success over the next decade. National Restaurant Association’s Restaurants 2030 survey.
In order to survive, restaurants had to find new ways to do business over the past two years. They refine their operations to meet consumer demand for takeout or delivery. However, the tight labor market and unpredictable supply chains have forced operators to rethink their menus.
Restaurants should also strive to meet consumer demands for innovative menu items that are high-quality and delicious, as well as clean-label, sustainable, plant-based ingredients.
To be successful in 2022, restaurant owners will need to adapt to these changes.
These are some ways restaurants can adapt their approach to maximize their sales and profit potential in the future.
Rethink your procurement strategies
You might consider forming direct buying relationships with specialty suppliers to avoid having to rely on distributors for all of your products.
Copper Branch, a chain that offers vegan quick-service restaurants in Canada, Europe, and the U.S., started holding competitions for small suppliers to pitch products during the pandemic. Trish Paterson, Copper Branch’s CEO, stated that it has led to some new partnerships.
She said she plans to continue to seek small, innovative suppliers to direct her efforts in the coming year. The competitions are rewarding partly because they are philanthropic. They allow the company support innovative new companies looking to gain traction in plant based foodservice. Copper Branch assists the companies with logistics and distribution issues.
Paterson stated, “It is fun to work alongside these new and up–and-coming companies.” “We will continue to source that type of sourcing. It supports our mission of collaboration in the industry and helps us to create innovative, amazing menu items.”
Although buying from smaller suppliers has its downsides, such as pricing and distribution difficulties, the benefits of having innovative partners who value your business can be worth it.
Create a work environment that is rewarding to retain and attract good employees
Copper Branch has also taken on the tight labor market, seeking to recruit workers, such as many who are entering the workforce for first time.
She stated that while we have had to increase our wages, we have also restructured our thinking to ensure we are providing meaningful work for these children. Our restaurants have a lot to offer. It’s more than just food. The way we package things and the way that we save the environment is truly world-changing.
Paterson stated that she believes that the company’s sustainable and plant based positioning has helped to recruit young workers who share her beliefs and want to be part of the positive change it seeks.
Innovate to keep up with changing consumer demands
Chad Rosenthal, a Food Network veteran competitor and chef/owner of The Lucky Well restaurants was faced with restrictions during the pandemic. He revived a herb-brined, fried Chicken sandwich and made it the center of a new concept for off-premises consumption.
Motel Fried Chicken is a brand that was originally named Motel Fried Chicken. The new brand has been growing rapidly, adding new products to its menu and a plant-based chicken substitute. This product mimics the texture and taste of whole-muscle chicken breasts.
Rosenthal is currently working with Elohi Strategic Advisors, Tindle (the maker of the plant-based substitute chicken) to roll out his new sandwich in new locations as he expands Motel Fried Chicken. To accommodate the new concept, Rosenthal has added fryers at his other restaurants and has been selling his sandwiches via Goldbelly’s shipping platform.
Motel Fried Chicken has also expanded with company-owned restaurants in Chicago and is now looking to franchise. It is also partnering with Reef Technology, which operates ghost restaurants across the U.S.
The same applies to Rosenthal has been working with Elohi to promote a plant-based chicken replacement. He said it cooks up to taste and look remarkably like the real thing.
“One of my concerns about some of the plant-based meats I consume is that they are not sustainable.” “Some have a strange aftertaste but this one doesn’t,” he stated. It can be mixed with other seasonings. It’s quite amazing.”
Keep it simple
Another lesson learned from the pandemic was to keep the menu and operations simple to reduce labor costs and streamline procurement and inventory.
Rosenthal, for Motel Fried Chicken, created a fried chicken sandwich. It was meticulously developed but will be easy to replicate once the company grows.
He said, “It’s very easy and it’s very teachable. We brine the chicken with an herb solution overnight, then we dredge and fry it.” “It’s so simple and easy to make this sandwich, which is very hard to mess up.
The sandwiches come with house-made pickles, Kewpie mayonnaise, and a Martin’s potato bun.
The pandemic has forever changed the restaurant industry, but there are still opportunities for operators who implement strategies that will allow them to succeed long-term.
The experts at Elohi Strategic AdvisorsRestaurants can be helped to navigate the future challenges.