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Retail and leisure 

The definition of what a ‘restaurant’ is has never been less certain. Is it a place where you go out to eat? Is it where you get your takeaway from? Is it a shop? A deli? A place that gives you the components and instructions to cook a meal at home?

The next phase of the restaurant model

The advent of digitalised food delivery by the likes of Deliveroo and Uber Eats changed how we ordered food but, until a few months ago, only accounted for a fraction of the food consumption market. Now restaurants have been forced to rethink not just how they trade but what their core function is as a business.

Jyotin Sethi, Chief Executive of JKS Restaurants, recently said that we are about to see the “next phase of the restaurant model” and commented that delivery will become a permanent feature of any restaurant’s business plan. The statement might seem like an obvious one but, for operators at the higher end of the market, it would have been unthinkable a mere three months ago to be putting a Michelin-grade meal on the back of a moped.

One stopgap to producing other revenue streams has been the increased rollout of ‘DIY’ home cooking kits. With more people forced to cook at home, these kits have allowed brands such as Island Poke to sell a product which would not travel well in completed meal form, but can be made and enjoyed with relatively little skill level. Even popular delivery items such as pizza can now be found in DIY form, with the likes of ‘Pizza in the Post’ from Pizza Pilgrims proving an enormous success.

The safe experience

As consumers begin to eat out when restaurants eventually reopen, the question will be less about the food, and more about the steps the restaurant has taken to ensure the health and safety of guests. With the mass rollout of a vaccine still some way off, more organised (and better capitalised) operators will be looking to accelerate the incorporation of robotics and digitisation into their restaurants, making their guests’ experience as contactless as possible from beginning to end.

Many restaurateurs who have previously been hesitant to incorporate these technologies into their front-of-house experience will revisit the use of these systems to help them manage reduced capacities, avoid crowding and waiting in the entrance areas and bars, as well as improve turnaround times to maximize revenue on each table.

One thing is certain: the ‘restaurant’, as we know it, will never be quite the same again.

“There will be no way that restaurants will be able to go back into the market operating in the way that they were before. With 50% trade, the numbers do not stack up.” – David Grant, Viewpoint Partners

David Grant, from Viewpoint Partners, envisages businesses embracing multi-channel formats in order to survive through this difficult time. “There is an overwhelming desire from our independent restaurant clients to serve their customers, to make people happy and to provide a good time rather than making huge profits. Pared with their ability to pivot quickly, a loyal following and their need to succeed they will do anything they can to keep the doors open.”

Read more from this edition of Ahead of the Curve

Table of contents

Feature one:

Practical Futurist Andrew Gril looks at the new normal and how technology can be used to effect lasting change as we return to work.

Feature three:

How is the new normal going to impact on how and where we work. Our real estate team looks at how the new role of the new office is having to change at a rapid pace.

Feature four:

Our regular feature looks at the workforce of the future. How has the coronavirus lockdown impacted on how we all work? And what will this look like going forward?

Feature five:

Graphcore are a company to keep an eye on. We spoke to Nigel Toon, CEO of Graphcore – a Bristol  business which brings Brunel spirit to a modern problem.

Feature six:

The housing market has been severely hit by the lockdown with sever restrictions on house viewings. But now things have started to free up, how can the industry future-proof itself?

Feature seven:

The health and social care sector has been at the epicentre of the coronavurus pandemic. Will this solution keep residents safe, whilst managing their need for social interaction?

Feature eight:

Video conferencing has been one of the heroes of lockdown. From social quizzes to board meetings – but people who have experienced a brain injury may find VC challenging…

Feature nine:

The book review – The new long life. Our regular book review feature, this time we look at The New Long Life, a book that looks at the challenges and opportunities of longevity.

Feature ten:

Coronavirus has moved the concept of climate away from the front and centre of many peoples minds, but should we be taking this opportunity build back a greener future?

Feature eleven:

In our regular feature Leading Edge, a selected charity is offered exclusive access to the back page of our magazine, this month it is CESA, the cauda equina syndrome charity.

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