When I heard that restaurants were opening again, I was excited.
I love everything about London’s culinary scene, I love the quaint little cafes on the roadside, as well as the classy high-end restaurants. So, when I heard that restaurant owners were starting to open up for business again, I was excited at the possibility of recovery.
Of course, I had no illusion that the industry was going to recover overnight. With social distancing in place till July and potentially beyond that, the road to recovery will be a long one. Still, I was thrilled that some progress was made.
So, I called up an old friend of mine, a restaurant owner, to understand some of the challenges he was facing (and see if restaurant EPOS software could help with that recovery). Unfortunately, my friend didn’t seem anywhere near as optimistic as I was about recovery.
“There is a lot up in the air,” he said. “We are forming plans…. But, I don’t know we will see,” I decided to press him for more details. “How often are people going to order food, since they are still at home? What are they going to order? Can we survive with just delivery and a dine-in option?”
I understood why my friend seemed so nervous, even with restaurants opening, there is still so much uncertainty to deal with.
To better understand my friend’s uncertainty, we need to take a look at the problems currently facing restaurants.
Restaurants are facing challenges on multiple fronts, even if they are starting to open up their doors again.
One of the biggest problems for restaurant owners and managers is fixed costs. Fixed costs, like rent, are a huge burden for restaurant managers because they increase operating costs by a significant margin. This problem is only exacerbated by a shortage of revenue because a dine-in option is not yet available for restaurants.
Some restaurant managers have managed to negotiate terms with their landlords, but every restaurant can’t negotiate exceptions because some landlords might be dealing with financial difficulties themselves.
Certain managers believe that the road to recovery will take place in phases. We have already been through the lockdown phase, now we are in the midst of a temporary phase. The hospitality industry will start up again, but will still have to deal with the consequences of the pandemic because most people will be reluctant to leave their house. Then, the final phase will see regulations lift and people returning to social spaces.
The main problem for restaurant owners is that no one knows for sure how long each recovery period will last. This makes it difficult for owners to make projections on customer demand and formulate strategies accordingly.
While people are chomping at the bits to leave their homes again, it is very unlikely that everyone is going to go back to their old routines before the lockdown. For example, if people are not commuting to work, then they are not going to stop by a restaurant to pick up breakfast, this could be a problem for businesses where breakfast was a huge source of income. With routines changed, restaurants have to adapt.
While restaurant EPOS software cannot solve every single problem, it can help restaurants navigate what is going to be an uncertain time.
With social distancing rules still in place, online ordering and delivery is no longer an option, it is a necessity for most restaurant owners. Restaurant EPOS software comes with several features, including an online ordering component that makes life significantly easier for most restaurant owners. EPOS software has all the features owners need to get their online component up and running, including delivery tracking and payment gateways.
By investing in a restaurant EPOS software, you have a much easier time adapting to customer habits. EPOS software has tools, like inventory management and analytics, to give you better insight into customer habits.
Habits may have changed, thanks to social distancing, but with EPOS systems, it’s much easier to identify what is popular with your customers. With this insight, it becomes much easier to plan out the menu, set expectations and devise marketing strategies that will grow your customer base.
While the situation is admittedly grim right now, I do believe that it will improve in the long run. Social distancing rules will lift, and when that happens, people will start visiting restaurants again.
While online ordering and delivery will be more popular than before, it is never going to replace a true dining experience. Humans, after all, are social creatures, and what better place to socialise than in a pub or restaurant?
However, there is going to be a temporary period that will bring a little uncertainty, and I believe the best way to handle this time period is to invest in the right technology to start with. Restaurant EPOS software could be the tool you need to navigate this period.