Restaurant Operators Giving Consumers What They Want
The Covid pandemic has altered life in many ways and for restaurant operators that means continuing to invest in technology and real estate to align with consumer preferences, according to the 2021 Restaurant Franchise Pulse survey by TD Bank.
According to this year's survey, restaurant operators' early investment in delivery and mobile ordering has paid off in a big way.
- 71% rely on delivery for 11% or more of sales
- 33% rely on delivery for more than 20% of sales
- 65% rely on mobile ordering for 11% or more of sales
- 25% rely on mobile ordering for more than 20% of sales
To keep up with changing consumer preferences, operators noted that their top areas of investment in 2022 include mobile ordering (54%); delivery services (47%); technology such as new POS digital signage or other in-store tech (45%); and alternative payment methods (37%).
"Consumers have become accustomed to the speed and convenience of mobile ordering and delivery, which in turn, has changed the restaurant franchise landscape," said Mark Wasilefsky, Head of Restaurant Franchise Finance Group, TD Bank. "Even once there is no longer the active threat of the pandemic, consumers will still turn to these mediums. Mobile ordering and delivery have become a part of everyday life and are no longer nice to have, but expected, and operators need to continue to enhance these offerings to keep up with competitors."
Beyond technological investments, operators are also altering their physical restaurant locations to cater to delivery. While only 15% plan to reduce the number or size of their franchise locations, operators are making other adjustments to their real estate.
- 55% plan to add more space for pick-up
- 45% plan to provide additional drive thru locations
- 43% plan to add an outdoor on-site dining space
"What we are seeing is that the pandemic has permanently altered consumer expectations and behaviors to the point that operators are comfortable enough to make long-term capital investments," said Wasilefsky.
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