Restaurants finding new ways to thrive

27th August 2020 | Eativity editors

Restaurants uncertain about the future are seeking new ways to prosper, with more than four in five restaurant owners who stayed open during the COVID-19 lockdowns adopting new ways of working, including new processes, systems or technology

This is according to the inaugural Deliveroo HospoVitality Index Report, which was conducted with research firm YouGov. It surveyed more than 500 restaurant owners across Australia to understand business confidence, the challenges that these businesses face, how they’ve responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, what government policy initiatives will help aid recovery and their plans for the future.

In exploring how restaurants navigated the national lockdowns, the report found that 48 percent of restaurant owners introduced new staffing and shift patterns, 42 percent optimised their menus and a quarter made point of sale changes.

Nine in 10 Aussie restaurants stayed open and operating in some capacity during lockdown, with 74 percent adopting new revenue streams such as takeaway, delivery, ready-to-cook meals, adding alcohol options to food orders and hampers.

The Fish Butchery in Sydney created Fish Butchery at Home offerings, which will continue.

Of the restaurants that introduced new ways of making money during the lockdowns, 90 percent said they’d maintain some or all of these revenue streams into the future, with takeaway and food delivery via a platform the most popular options.

One in five restaurant owners said they didn’t know at what stage they’d be able to trade profitably and be viable within the Federal Government’s 3-step Framework for a COVID-safe Australia, showing how vulnerable many businesses are feeling. But more than half of all restaurant owners are optimistic about their business prospects in 12 months’ time.

The report found that the greatest challenges impacting business confidence are the slowing down of the economy and reduced dine-in capacity, followed by a reduction in consumer spending and potential future increases in the price of produce.

JobKeeper has helped many restaurants to keep trading.

Government assistance during the pandemic has been vital, with 65 percent of restaurant owners accessing JobKeeper. Of these restaurants, 44 percent said they would not have been able to keep trading had JobKeeper not been available. Two thirds of restaurant owners also sought rental relief from their landlords during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Restaurants are walking a tightrope at the moment, juggling overheads and costs with an income that has been decimated,” says Deliveroo CEO, Ed McManus.

“This pandemic has reshaped how many restaurants operate, and many of the new ways of working they’ve adopted are here to stay. However, restaurant owners can’t do it on their own. They need the collective support of government, consumers and partners like Deliveroo to help them recover.”