Food & beverage (F&B) companies faced an unpredictable and turbulent challenge in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Delivery, supply chain, and last-mile logistics were especially affected. Since food and worker safety has been in the limelight this year, new advancements aim to provide consumers with trust in their food by ensuring that processes are efficient, transparent, and long-term.
Consumers spent the majority of last year striving to keep healthy. They were obliged to cook more meals at home due to lockdown restrictions, typically using simple items that were long-lasting and easy to store. This left a huge impact on the F&B industry as online ordering surged and forward-thinking food stores turned to e-commerce. Food and beverage companies re-evaluated their supply chains and business strategies to become more resilient as the outbreak expanded.
F&B innovation is still being driven by consumer-centric tactics. The following are few important trends that will shape the food and beverage business in 2021 -
Technology-enabled improvements to operations
Even before the pandemic, restaurants were adopting new technologies to meet shifting consumer tastes, to cut costs, and to deal with labor issues amid a highly competitive backdrop. Many restaurants are resorting to ghost kitchens and virtual brands to help grow sales with less upfront investment as real estate is at a premium and more consumers are flocking to digital platforms. The pandemic has accelerated this trend, helping to solidify these models as viable options.
Technology presents unique solutions for restaurants to differentiate themselves and for owners to run their businesses more efficiently. Technology and innovation are helping restaurants to not just survive, but thrive, in this new connected and contactless era. As it’s predicted that growth in the restaurant industry will be mostly driven by online ordering, using technology is not just about improving operations and service delivery, but also reimagining restaurants.
Do It Yourself (DIY) Kits
DIY kits are essentially do-it-yourself kits, in which you receive all of the raw materials, such as sauces, herbs, and dressings you'll need to produce delectable meals. DIY kits are a pleasant trend that has sprung from the pandemic and is predicted to gain traction in 2021 and beyond. Brands are meticulously curating at-home kits of their unique items, whether it's a DIY cocktail recipe or a meal kit, directly to your doorstep. These DIY kits are also a great way to spice up house parties, which have now become the favoured style of interaction for the majority of individuals.
UrbanPiper’s Satellite Prime - A robust POS and restaurant management platform built to streamline your entire operations - from online ordering to inventory management has a unique feature under the recipe management module that allows you to try different recipes based on the available ingredients. This can help restaurants come up with new meals on a regular basis using readily available raw materials while keeping costs low.
As individuals stay at home and rely more on takeaway and delivery as a result of the pandemic, mobile ordering has exploded. This also reduces human interaction, which is another area where restaurants are looking to technology for assistance. Restaurant digitization improves the client experience while also allowing for more efficient operations management. It also assists restaurants in gathering data points at each stage of the process, allowing for data-driven decision-making throughout the operation.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 is creating a shift in restaurants adopting digital management systems across the supply chain as a result of the disruption to the food and beverage business. Restaurants use computerized menus, self-service kiosks, and cashless payment options to eliminate direct human-to-human contact. Furthermore, chatbots and voice bots are emerging tools for aiding consumers with meal orders and other restaurant-related questions in real-time. QR codes have become ubiquitous in the F&B industry today with restaurant chains using the technology to power various parts of their operation.
For a long time, e-commerce has been a hot topic in the food and beverage business. However, the COVID-19 crisis drove food supply chain improvements even further. Food brands use digital platforms to provide on-demand online delivery services and direct-to-customer (D2C) distribution models to reach customers. Furthermore, safety concerns are pushing the growth of ghost kitchens or cloud kitchens that only supply food takeaway and deliveries during the outbreak. Brands are focusing on omni-channel distribution in addition to D2C to increase customer experience and sales.
With UrbanPiper's Meraki, you can take control of your online business with self-branded applications and websites, as well as build a fully customized ordering experience for your brand. It's a full-stacked platform that can help you market your restaurant by allowing you to segment customers, build focused campaigns, and track conversions.
The effects of the pandemic lead to big changes in the food and beverage industry as firms and individuals work together to create modified experiences to deal with safety concerns. Increased transparency, more hygienic food handling, and a long-term sustainability view will be the order of the day.
Understanding demand trends can help you spot opportunities for growth and improvement. However, in order for this industry to thrive, it is essential that restaurants employ food-tech professionals such as UrbanPiper, who would undoubtedly assist food delivery services and restaurants in thriving in an ever-changing economy by assisting them in maintaining a strong grip on consumer trends and continuously innovating.