These three scenarios are drawn from a study by NPD Group that highlights the dramatic situation the gastronomy industry faces. These phases are described by market researchers as “under control,” “rollercoaster” and “shutdown.” They also show what guests want now, the best way gastronomes can react in every phase, and suggest there might even be a solution that fits everyone’s needs. That one offer, which indulges guests at the restaurant, but still tastes delicious delivered to their homes. This is a flexible range that is always just right, even when the restaurant is open, but everyone still prefers to only get it to go.
The most important thing here is not really the food, but rather, understanding your guests, their fears, their worries and desires – that is the true secret to success. But what exactly does this mean? That’s easy: follow Corona measures very carefully, and make it clear that this is the case! Provide information about your approach, and insist on conscientious cooperation from your guests. Present yourself as a reliable local restaurateur worth supporting, along the lines of eat local and we’ll get through this together. Guests need a feeling of safety and trust now more than ever. If you make them feel they are in good hands, then half the battle has already been won. This is definitely also true when it comes to your to-go business. Meals packed with care for home delivery will not only satisfy a craving for tasty food, but also the longing to be looked after in hard times. This is care you can taste!
Guests need safety and trust
Another important point is to ensure you have modern ordering and payment methods that can be used at a safe distance. After all, cash and touch are both equally unpopular during the pandemic. The cherry on top: advance orders – perhaps rewarded with discounts – make processes easier. As a result, your turnover is immediately on the books and counting out cash is a thing of the past.
Now we’ve come to the food on offer itself. Although their tastes naturally vary, the main desires are the same for most guests. Last but not least, they love meals that they are not likely to make themselves at home. They offer small everyday highlights to look forward to, affordable moments of enjoyment that make up for a lot. For gastronomy pros, this is a piece of cake! Another point worth mentioning about the research conducted by the experts at the NPD Group is that they discovered people are cooking at home more often during the pandemic. The result? Modern guests are in the know. Not only do they expect quality, they also have the skills to recognize it! The goal was to score points with quality even in difficult times, whether in lockdown or open – even when facing limited financial leeway. But how exactly does that work?
Success with just a few first-rate dishes
Jochen Kramer knows the secret. “By cleverly reducing the menu you can achieve success with just a few first-rate dishes. This means minimum stock on hand, with maximum recipe versatility! With only a few, but high-quality and versatile products, you can master even peak periods with ease,” says the Salomon FoodWorld management board member. “Food that can be easily prepared and remains juicy and crispy even if left standing or in transit for a long time is particularly interesting, for example crispy schnitzel and battered French fries.”
Wraps, burgers and sandwiches are also a great idea, according to Kramer. “These can be made very quickly and prepared with flexibility, especially when they include read-to-eat sauces or dips.” You can also gain flexibility by working with food that can be used in many ways, such as chicken fingers, which can be served on salad, in a wrap, on a roll or as the centerpiece of the meal, as well as on their own with dip. The best part? This kind of offer is fully in line with the snacking trend, and can be packed up to go in an uncomplicated and stylish way. This way every dish becomes an edible business card!
Professional technology for every situation
The selection is ready, but what about technology? Do I need to upgrade or reconfigure the kitchen to be prepared for the ups and downs? Yes and no, say the experts. For delivery, you should use professional thermo equipment. Otherwise, modern combi-steamers offer all required technologies to deliver the best quality in every situation. “Salomon products in particular are particularly well suited for cooking in a combi-steamer,” explains Wolfgang Guth, Head of Applications Consulting DACH at Rational AG. “Burgers can be grilled directly in the combi-steamer and the whole thing also works on a rotating basis,” says the expert. His tip? “Food stays crispy longer and does not leave grease stains in the to-go packaging, compared to when it is cooked in the deep fryer.”
In short, Corona-proof work is not magic. Those who know a few small secrets will get through the pandemic more easily and make their guests happy – at least a little!