What Awaits the Restaurant Industry in the Post-Covid Era?

A man wearing a mask and gloves holds an open sign, indicating readiness for business in the post-COVID era.
Ayseli İzmen
Ayseli İzmen
June 21, 2022

Food culture, the art of cooking, and food in general (especially avocadoes) were trending topics just before the pandemic hit. Has anything changed during the times we were in lockdowns? Have we lost interest in dining out, socializing at degustation events, or in our pursuit of the next golden ratio at that new Michelin-star restaurant? Is the future of work in the restaurant business simply dead? The answer is a straightforward no.

“Our quest for quality and tasty food is not going anywhere, never!”

Local flavors, cooking traditions and techniques, nutrition culture, and tools used in cooking and food preparation contribute to forming culinary identities. People’s interest in this culinary world will likely never stop.

Restaurants During the Pandemic: How They Managed to Survive

The bitter truth is that every restaurant segment was affected by the lockdowns and the post-pandemic economic crisis. Small and big, from coffee shops to fine dining restaurants. Eateries at beach tourism destinations seem to have been affected the most since there were no tourists around to order takeout or delivery (with the exception of a few tropical destinations with only light regulations where bored citizens flocked in to avoid the lockdowns). Hundreds of thousands of food businesses were forced to close down permanently on a global scale.

“The pandemic led to bankruptcies, unemployment, financial crisis, and general economic slowdowns worldwide, and its harmful effects in almost every sector are being subject of daily inquiry by academic and non-academic realms. The amount of research developed around the topic since March 2020 is overwhelming. The negative impacts caused in the tourism, gastronomic, and hospitality sectors are no exception.”1

Post Pandemic Anticipations for Restaurants

During the sudden and lengthy lockdowns, most of us were forced to learn to cook at home and buy missing cooking appliances and cookbooks. This doesn’t mean that we haven’t been craving to eat out. As the general consumer surveys suggest, in the post-COVID shock, most people are looking forward to eating out again and are even concerned that they may not find the same diversity in restaurants and cuisines offered.

It could, therefore, be the case that diners may as well be abandoning their homemade Chili con Carne and racing back out to restaurants and bars when it comes to eating habits. With mouth-watering festivals and food events on the horizon, Chefs, too, are ready to leave their home kitchens behind to serve the crowds once again.

The Comeback of Food Festivals

In the pre-pandemic era, you were most likely to find a food festival wherever you were in the world, with some of us actually traveling long distances to be a part of these festivals. Some creative and memorable food and drink festivities are crafted so well that tickets used to get sold out months prior to the event. The marriage of our love for great eats and travel comes to life by attending one of these exceptional food and wine festival events around the world. Cooking competitions, culinary demonstrations, tasting sessions, grilling classes, cheese-making workshops, and live music kept festival-goers engaged through every minute of these events.

Guess what? It’s all making a comeback with cheered-up Chefs, cheesemakers, and culinary extraordinaires dying to showcase their take on specialty food at an event and to crowds locked up to order pizza and Chinese for almost a year.

Top food tourism statistics reveal that 70% of people pick a destination based on the food and drink available at their destination. A staggering 95% of U.S. citizens are interested in having some kind of unique food experience. Looking into the behavior of younger spenders, we see that 77% of millennials travel to acquire memorable gastronomic experiences, with 63% consciously choosing food concepts and businesses involved in social responsibility.

The Trend is Your Friend

Regarding the future of the restaurant industry, we witness that people are becoming more and more interested in the phenomenon of eating, drinking, and food preparation.

Cooking classes, street food tours, culinary programs, vineyards, boutique whisky, and tequila distilleries are all in the picture. In other words, gastronomic tourism has become a lifestyle for some, with the opportunities it offers to taste the world's flavors and interact with different cultures and local cuisines.

Current trends in the gastronomy market show that digital marketing and food promotion have lately come into our lives as Instagrammable food featuring beautiful compositions and mouth-watering plate designs influencing tourists to choose a certain destination.

Regarding restaurant owners, it is our duty to follow relevant trends in food, food technology, and restaurant management technologies because the pandemic certainly pushed forward the need to implement certain tools in accordance with consumer behavior and expectations of strict hygiene standards.

In the restaurant industry recovery period, we currently find ourselves adjusting operational procedures, stimulating consumers to get them back into restaurants, modifying menus to accommodate variations in customers ’ behavior and tastes, and improving delivery options should all be key goals for the future of restaurants.

Control All of Your Restaurant Operations in One Place

Offering use cases and solutions that are hard to resist, FineDine is a top example of the assistive restaurant management tools that bring QR menus, digital menus, fast checkout features, and much more to your fingertips. FineDine helps coffee shops, bakeries, hotels, food trucks, and nightclubs to sell more while taking away the stress of the nature of the industry.