From sous vide food prep to entirely new build-outs, F&B proves to be as dynamic as ever.
If this year has shown us anything, it’s that the hard and fast F&B industry may not be as immovable as previously assumed. Restauranteurs have experienced a major shake-up with the closure – permanent or otherwise – of many locations, and those that have remained have needed to be agile to keep up with consumer demands.
The world’s “safest franchise brand”
One disruptive concept launching this year could have inadvertently introduced the future of the restaurant experience. Taffer’s Tavern, created by industry veteran Jon Taffer, has been designed to be the “safest franchise brand” in history; a claim made way before COVID-19 even became a talking point.
The brand ensures this through the proprietary Taffer’s Safe Dining System, which keeps human-to-food contact to a minimum. By utilizing the advantages of sous vide food preparation, all Taffer’s menu items come wrapped and pre- seasoned. They can then be cooked methodically with specific timings. This method’s benefits are twofold:
shelf life for produce is allegedly three times longer than a normal product, which means that money spent on wastage is kept to a minimum. In addition, prep time is almost entirely eliminated, which can keep personnel costs drastically low; the system supposedly requires around 40 per cent less labor than a traditional dine-in kitchen.
Taffer’s Tavern opened the doors to its very first Alpharetta location on November 19 just outside of Atlanta and has plans to grow to 200 units within the next three years. While the brick-and-mortar dining experience has undoubtedly been challenged this year, Taffer’s revolutionary food prep approach could breathe new life into what remains of this segment of the industry.
Digital future of food
You haven’t got to be a franchising expert to recognize one major shift in the F&B industry this year: food delivery is big. Not just big, mind you, but it could potentially occupy the majority of the market in the years to come; even in a post-COVID world.
Case in point: even franchise brands that have never engaged with delivery before entered the space this year. Little Caesars, which has always opted for a pick-up model in its 60-year history, signed a deal with DoorDash in January to begin fulfilling delivery orders.
Delivering a seamless pickup experience from start to finish is the key to customer retention”
In June, Chipotle entered a similar partnership with Grubhub, to expand its delivery footprint throughout the U.S. And Grubhub isn’t a small player in this space, currently offering almost 300,000 total restaurants on its platform, and delivering in over 4,000 U.S. cities.
“While more people are staying home in today’s environment, we want to ensure we’re giving our diners the best options and making the experience as safe as possible,” said Seth Priebatsch, head of enterprise at Grubhub.
For brands that got on the disruptive delivery train early, the benefits have been evident in this year’s rollercoaster market. Wingstop, for example, signed a partnership with DoorDash back in late 2018, which didn’t seem overly significant at the time. This year, that arrangement has seen Wingstop’s same-store sales increase by 32 per cent in Q2, when many other networks were trapped in the red.
Still need convincing? Second Measure, a transaction data analytical firm, found that sales from meal delivery services grew by 135 per cent in October 2020. Still, it’s not enough for a restaurant to just offer delivery in today’s market; that’s now something that the majority of concepts have put on the table. Instead, perfecting the customer experience in conjunction with varied delivery and pick-up options has proven to retain consumers and keep businesses afloat.
In a 2019 report, pick-up delivery tech experts Rakuten Ready found that customers who had to wait under two minutes for a pick-up order were four times more likely to repeat purchase from the same restaurant. “Our research found that time is precious for consumers, but overall satisfaction with the order for pickup experience hinges on more than speed alone,” said Jarod Waldman, co-founder and CEO of Rakuten Ready. “Delivering a seamless pickup experience from start to finish is key to customer retention and satisfaction – starting from the moment a customer chooses a pickup option, to the final step of safely picking up their order.”
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