F&B, F&B Industry, FOOD AND BEVERAGE, Technology
How Technology Has Helped the F&B Industry in Tackling the New Normal?
The demand for food has been always on the rise due to the increasing population across the world. Even when the world got hit by the pandemic COVID-19, the F&B industry paved its way to reach its customers in an efficient way. Of course, when many countries imposed lockdown, the restaurants, food joints, and other similar outlets also were completely shut down due to which they had to face immense losses. But as soon as the world started returning back on track with the new normal rules, the F&B Industry also adapted to the new changes with the help of the latest technologies and strategies.
Increased Food Delivery
The demand for home deliveries has already seen a rise over the last few years. But when things started getting back to normal after the removal of lockdown, a tremendous increase is noticed for home delivery orders. Though due to rapid vaccination drive and other strategies, there has been noticed a good control over the virus, people are still not sure whether they should go out of their houses or not. Thus, a visible drop has been noticed in the number of people who would visit restaurants to dine in. These guests rather feel more comfortable now ordering food and getting it delivered at home to consume it within the comfort of their homes.
While the increased amount of food delivery has brought back the pace of the F&B Industry on track, but it has definitely thinned the profit margin for many restaurants and food joints. Most restaurants charge service charges when customers visit the restaurant to dine in. This service charge amount has to be waved off when they order for food delivery. Of course, this leads to thinning of the profit margin of the restaurant. In fact, when the customers order food over the phone, a dedicated team has to be there to take the orders and then pass them to the kitchen.
Experts have mentioned several ways to tackle such a problem such as by increasing the rates of the food or by adding up delivery charges for food delivery. But as these solutions will increase the bill amount, many customers may refrain to order from such restaurants. Hence, another great idea is to make use of technology. The use of ERP is a great initiative to create an experience that is convenient for the customers as well as the restaurant owners and staff. All that the customers have to do is to either download the application or have to visit the website of the restaurant to order the food items online and also pay the bill online. The restaurants also offer discounts from time to time through such applications and websites to allure them and welcome more food orders online.
One of the most essential points that we cannot ignore during this pandemic time is that of enhanced hygiene. Apart from the rules of social distancing and wearing a mask, another most essential point is to take extreme care about hygiene. Food can get contaminated quite easily and so it is essential to maintain extra cleanliness while handling food. F&B Industry has introduced several regulations now to maintain the hygiene factor so that food can be served and delivered without any risk of contamination. Some of the regulations that the hotels, restaurants, and other places maintain in this new normal are:
- Sanitizing the kitchen and dining area at regular intervals,
- Handling food by wearing gloves, masks, and hair caps,
- Maintaining social distancing at work as well as from the customers.
Customers have also stood up quite responsibly now and they prefer to order food from restaurants and hotels that commit to maintaining all these regulations. Also, there are many restaurants and even food delivery partners that ask for feedback from the customers regarding the regulations that the food joints have maintained in terms of food packaging, or even while delivering the food items. The customers are now provided the authority to complain when they find any of the above-mentioned regulations getting violated.
As social distancing became the prime solution to cut down the spread of the virus, digitalization became quite popular now. Customers now prefer to make payments through different digital forms so that they do not have to get in contact with the other person in terms of exchanging currencies. There are two major ways that have allowed the spread of digitalization in between the relationship of a customer and the F&B industry.
- When customers order online, they prefer to pay online at the application or at the website directly before the food is delivered.
- When the customer is at the restaurant for dine-in, they usually pay online through different money transfer applications available now in place of paying in cash.
Not just for the payment mode, digitalization is paving its way in many other areas of the F&B Industry too. Making use of these digitalized methods, not just the risk of direct contact is reduced but also convenience has been enhanced. One of the eminent examples that can be talked about is the restaurant management software through which the steward does not have to enter the kitchen with a paper to notify the chef about the order of the customers. The steward can just update the order on software and the chef can get a notification about what has to be prepared for a particular customer.
Is This Change Good for the Long Run?
While many of the restaurants and small food joints may find the introduction of these changes a bit messy and expensive at the initial stage, but definitely this is going to pay off in the long run. Here are some of the eminent ways how the use of technology is a help in the long run.
- The use of technology such as restaurant management systems makes your operations much smoother and accelerates the quality and speed of work.
- The ERP system does not offer a faster and safer mode of payment but also helps in keeping track of your monetary elements such as comparing sales of different months to check your growth
- There are also restaurant management systems that include inventory management that also helps you in handling your inventory well so that you can control food wastage or even shortage on time.
- Systems welcoming customer feedback helps you in understanding what you need to change so that you can get ready to serve the customers in an even better way.
Thus, definitely, the F&B Industry had to face a number of challenges initially to adapt to the new normal similar to many other industries around. But the good thing is that in this whole scenario, the industry has learned to make use of technology and other strategies in an efficient way to march towards a future that is even brighter than before.
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