Jeff Ber Outlines How The Restaurant Industry Has Changed Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 has completely changed the restaurant industry. As businesses that often rely on physical attendance, it is unclear when they can resume regular service. Forecasts by Statistics Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce found that roughly 60 percent of Canadian restaurants could close in the next couple of months. However, some restaurants have found innovative ways to stay afloat by playing to their strengths and responding to community needs. Jeff Ber, an entrepreneur providing business management consulting services to local businesses, believes that innovation is the key to survival in these difficult times. With a few key examples, Jeff Ber evaluates multiple ways that the restaurant industry has thought outside of the box.
Working Around the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has, for the most part, eliminated the in-person dining experience. With an extensive range of government closures and stay-at-home orders, it may be a while before consumers are back in a typical restaurant setting. However, with pick-up and delivery options on the rise, it is essential businesses implement the necessary precautions to avoid physical contact. According to Jeff Ber businesses that were once slow to adopt contactless payment options are now making the switch to mitigate the spread of the virus. Contactless payment comes in the form of credit cards, apps, or mobile wallets. According to Ber, not only do they help consumers maintain a safe distance, but they are also more secure.
Learning to Adapt Amid Shortages
In Toronto, OCCA Kitchen had to lay off almost 99 staff members between their two locations when the pandemic first struck. Known for sourcing all of their ingredients locally, including making their own pickles, ketchup, buns and more from scratch, the restaurant decided to switch to a ‘grocery marketplace’ model to continue to serve the local community. Jeff Ber explains that businesses like OCCA Kitchen have played to their strengths, continuing to feed people but in a way that makes sense for families locked down at home. Every family continues to need groceries, and by adapting to the needs of their customers, OCCA Kitchen have continued to thrive in these uncertain times.
Increases in Delivery Services
For some restaurants, COVID-19 was the push they needed to adapt to a rapidly changing industry. Magical Taste of China had no takeout or delivery system prior to the pandemic. Laying off staff and closing their restaurants, Magical Taste of China quickly shifted their focus to free delivery within a 15-kilomtre range for anyone spending more than $50. While these changes aren’t entirely unique, the restaurant is now at a place where they are breaking even — a major win! Jeff Ber explains that every restaurant has to play to their strengths, but these examples remind us that the restaurant industry is still thriving in their own way.
Ultimately, as a businessman and entrepreneur, Jeff Ber believes that many of these changes will only help move the restaurant industry forward, and is excited to see how businesses will continue to evolve and adapt.