The New Normal

How venues will need to adapt to ‘the new dining-out’

As state governments lift restrictions across the country, businesses that had to change the way they trade during COVID-19 are beginning to reassess their options. Some states are allowing small restaurants and cafes to reopen to diners (with restrictions on numbers) and the other states aren’t too far away.

But as we see a ‘new normal’ roll out across the nation, it is important to keep in mind consumer behaviour and sentiment. If you’re considering reopening your doors in the coming weeks or months, then read this first…

According to the GWF Bakery Conversations, COVID-19 Online Survey, April 2020 the main concern for Australians is not the virus itself, but the current economic situation, with 94 per cent of those surveyed saying they were slightly or very concerned about the Australian economy. 

And due to economic anxiety and jobs losses, consumers predict that their spending will be down over the next month. 

This may sound a little doom and gloom, but the economic uncertainty is also paired with an overwhelming need to get out of the house, as families in isolation are keen to get over their ‘Cabin Fever’. So, even if there is an excited rush of people returning to their favourite restaurant or cafe, diners will be looking for affordable options, not decadent splurges.

So how can venues balance these needs of customers eager to enjoy a dine-in experience, with the needs of their business financially?

Chefs should begin redesigning their menus now, looking for cost efficient products that make the same margin as before, for a lower price point.

Obviously drinks can be your best bet for profit margins, but looking at your food menu is important too. Pizzas and burgers are a good place to start – especially if you can buy bases and buns to leave in the freezer. It’s going to be hard to predict your numbers initially, so if you’ve got the ability to store frozen goods you’ll be avoiding food waste and saving money. These bread-based meals are filling and satisfying but can also give you a healthy profit.

Breakfast service is one of the most profitable times for many venues around the country – so perhaps it’s worth adding all-day breakfast to your menu. ‘Build your own’ egg dishes are always popular, and pancakes are a family favourite that deliver a healthy profit too.

Talk to your staff about gentle upsells – upselling is one of the most effective ways to raise profits without increasing your labour costs. If someone orders a burger, it’s worth asking if they’d like chips. If someone orders pizza, it’s worth asking if they want a side of garlic bread. These high yield items are appreciated by customers and can add up to bigger profits.

The same logic can be applied to ‘meal deals’ and packages. When you’re redesigning your menu to include affordable single dish options, don’t forget to incorporate some deals to feed whole families or couples.

Even though things are beginning to look like a ‘new normal’, you must keep in mind consumers will be more conscious about the amount of money they spend. If you want to chat about what items can work for you on and your ‘new normal’ menu, get in touch today and we can talk you through our cost effective products.

Stay Inspired

Stay up to date with recipes and news from Tip Top Foodservice by signing up to our monthly newsletter, designed to help you and your business.