Restaurants have always played an essential role in communities across Canada. Beyond just providing food and drink, restaurants fulfill a human need for connection and help shape social relations. They represent a warm place for communities to gather and support the supply chain from farm to table.
It’s an understatement to say that Canada’s foodservice industry has experienced considerable challenges as a result of the pandemic and no doubt the post-COVID-19 era will continue to bring about dramatic changes to the foodservice landscape.
Many new trends are here to stay
Through these challenges we continue to see new trends and innovation. Restaurants will continue to pivot their business models in order to adapt to the changing nature of COVID-19 and new regulations put forth by local governments. The lines between retail food sales and restaurant food sales continue to blur with restaurants selling groceries and meal kits. We anticipate this trend will continue as restaurants look for ways to diversify business models.
With a substantial percentage of people working from home, we’ve seen a huge spike in takeout and delivery orders, with many full-service restaurants pivoting to offer this choice to customers. There have been sweeping changes in alcohol regulations across Canada, providing restaurants with improved beverage options to include on their menus for takeout and delivery.
Health at the forefront
While not a new trend, health and safety of staff and customers has always been critical, and this is just as true now as it was before the emergence of COVID-19.
Together with recommendations from local health authorities, restaurant operators and staff are taking the necessary steps to ensure they can provide a visibly clean and safe atmosphere, including an increasingly “contactless” experience. QR-code menus; digital, mobile device, and in-store kiosk orders; and contactless payment systems — all of these contactless innovations and more, aimed to encourage the return of customers to restaurant patios and dining rooms.
Feeding the Recovery
To ensure that restaurants have what they need to continue playing an integral role in the social and economic fabric of our everyday lives, Restaurants Canada has launched the Feeding the Recovery campaign. A vibrant foodservice sector is integral to Canada’s social and economic fabric. When our restaurants thrive, so do the communities they serve.