How the Pandemic Changed the Restaurant Industry

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We’re lucky in Santa Clarita to have access to dozens of award-winning restaurants that offer all sorts of cuisines from Italian, Mexican, Chinese and everything in between. However, when the pandemic hit in early 2020, the restaurants we know and love suffered greatly.

In order to stay afloat, the entire restaurant industry had to adapt its business model to find new ways of getting food to consumers. Although life is now becoming more normal and dine-in options are available to us once again, the pandemic forced a shift that changed the restaurant industry for the foreseeable future. 

Let’s look at two significant changes that restaurants made over the course of the past two years and how those changes may have a lasting impact on the restaurant industry. 

Virtual Kitchens and Delivery Kitchens

Because restaurants were not able to offer dine-in services during the height of the pandemic, the popularity of virtual kitchens delivery kitchens has greatly increased. 

The virtual restaurant concept is an innovative model that creates a new revenue stream for existing restaurants and other commercial kitchen operators. Using their own facility, equipment and staff, restaurants can match with a virtual restaurant brand and fulfill its delivery orders. Virtual kitchens allowed restaurants that were not able to afford their facility or staff during the pandemic to stay afloat and gave other restaurants an opportunity to maintain, or even grow, their pre-pandemic revenue.  

Delivery kitchens on the other hand are, as their name suggests, restaurants that only offer delivery. These kitchens are often located in city centres, allowing for fresher and faster food delivery to large portions of the population. Delivery kitchen operators like REEF allowed restaurants to reach new customers during the pandemic while also creating jobs within the community.

While these kitchen concepts became a necessity during the pandemic, their impact on the restaurant industry is sure to have a lasting impact. 

Food Delivery Apps

Prior to the start of the pandemic, food delivery apps were in a panic. Business was not like it was when the service was first created, and some companies were even considering either selling or merging. But, when people across the nation were forced to stay home, and indoor dining closed, food delivery services were given the space they needed to thrive. 

Not only did these apps help restaurants stay in business by giving them a way to stay open, but they also created a lot of jobs for those who had just lost theirs. With so many people ordering food, these apps really became an essential service. 

With life slowly returning to normal, it is likely that we will see a decrease in the amount of revenue these apps were bringing in compared to the peak of the pandemic. That being said, many people are still more comfortable avoiding in-person dining or have grown accustomed to the convenience of delivery, so they’re certainly not going away any time soon.   

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