The U.S. restaurant industry’s recovery has dipped by 30%, according to The NPD Group. This news is both good and bad, as this means that several restaurants still have hope, but it still has quite a way to go. With more restrictions starting to ease up, it is worth exploring what sort of details are helping the restaurant industry slowly recover and return to normal.
Visible Sanitation Markers
Around 86% of consumers have expressed that visible markers of sanitation and cleanliness help them feel safe, according to Measure Protocol. Some practical and visible sanitation markers include cleaning timetables, signs that inform clients of sanitary protocols, and even the actual act of seeing staff clean around the premises. Another visible marker is engaging the services of professional sanitation companies to help assess other hygienic protocols that the brand may require.
The American Rescue Plan Act
It is not just the consumers who are eager to see the restaurant industry recover. President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act on the 11th of March, which creates the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), worth $28.6 billion. The goal of this fund is to help resuscitate restaurants and save jobs across the U.S. Restaurant operators can apply for tax-free grants of up to $5 million per location. It should be noted that this new federal program is for operators with 20 or fewer locations. Larger chains will not be included.
Roughly 60% of consumers order food online at least once a week, according to Upserve. This means that restaurants have needed to adjust to how their consumers have shifted their ordering preferences. Restaurants that embraced technology were able to weather the past year significantly better than others. For example, Chipotle reported a 216% increase in their sales when they applied technology to their everyday practices. It can be safely assumed that technology plays a vital role in helping restaurants toward their path to recovery.
There is no denying that the past year has been a true make-or-break for a lot of small restaurants and large chains — not only in the U.S., but also around the world. While there are some brands that truly embraced change and are slowly recovering, others still need a bit more time and aid. Only time will tell if the restaurant industry will be able to fully recover, but it is a recovery that consumers will eye eagerly.