Q: What do you feel like eating today?
A: “I don’t feel like cooking today, should we just order some Chinese?”
It has never been easier to enjoy Thai, Italian, Indian or local cuisine any day of the week as it is today. With a simple tap on an app, you can have your favorite meal delivered to your doorstep without even leaving your seat on the sofa (other than opening the door). It is true, that even before smartphones and apps, a chow mein, pizza margarita or Tex-Mex burrito was only a phone call away. But the rise of food delivery companies like UberEats, Deliveroo and Glovo has also modified how we order take-away meals. Customer-friendly apps, cheap and quick delivery combined with a variety of restaurant choices, combine to enable you to choose from hundreds of restaurants in your immediate area, in a very straightforward manner. They are a part of the sharing economy just like Airbnb. Often the convenience and accuracy of online ordering are reasons to use these food delivery middlemen.
The benefits are not only for the hungry person ordering the food, but also restaurants are given the opportunity to maintain their relationship with former clients, since during the pandemic customer numbers have dropped. Many eateries have had to renew themselves when it comes to keeping clientele and surviving through a rough period with little to no income.
After months in quarantine, the Spanish population was dying to eat out and socialize once again. These are social activities that play a huge part in the Spanish culture but had to be temporarily canceled while fighting increasing numbers of COVID in the country. From having been closed for weeks, to only allowing 50% capacity in open-aired spaces like terraces, restaurants had to lay off a majority of their employees, and the smaller eateries and entrepreneurs were truly struggling to stay alive.
The saving grace for many foodservice establishments proved to be delivery. Three months into the quarantine, I still remember my first order from JustEat – a ramen soup and a katsu don. I received the delivery wearing my face mask and with disinfected hands. I also disinfected the delivery items of course, but what a joy!
Spanish media reported an increase in sales of food delivery of 40-50%, as restaurants that did not offer delivery before the pandemic, were now putting together take-out menus in an effort to recuperate some of their lost income. Even supermarkets are experiencing a considerable growth in home deliveries. The other day, I came across an ad promoting a gastronomic experience at my own house, where all the food items delivered home together with a detailed recipe and instructions that would allow me to create an experience worthy of a Michelin star in my own kitchen.
The pandemic still makes people think twice before they visit a restaurant today. Some will choose an outdoor terrace first before agreeing to eat inside, fearing a greater chance of catching the virus indoors. Others choose home delivery instead. Plenty of businesses have had to rethink their whole strategy in order to keep afloat in these challenging times, food and beverage companies are certainly no exception. As we enter the winter season and for some countries also a second wave of uncertainty and restrictions, these measures will be tested once more. The businesses that are well prepared will stand a better chance of survival.
Other actors in the industry that are also struggling with low visitor numbers or low current demand could consider a new approach to providing their service or delivering their product to the final customer. Are you also looking for inspiration on how to do business better in the middle of the pandemic? Or perhaps advice from certified experts who understand the business of food travel? If you run a foodservice business, consider taking our Masterclass, “Food tourism for chefs and foodservice professionals” to get ideas on how to attract food-loving travelers, both when travel resumes and when things normalize again.
Authored by Rosanna Olsson. Edited by Erik Wolf.