The Market Place
Surviving restaurants have relied on Outdoor and Off-Premise dining to stay alive through the pandemic. These adaptations remain key to restaurant viability and are in-fact reshaping the industry.
▪ National chains are investing heavily in concepts introduced or proven during the pandemic, notably curbside delivery, outdoor dining, ghost kitchens, virtual concepts, and digital ordering applications. (Technomic) ▪ Declining Covid-19 cases, eased dine-in restrictions and more vaccinations have been contributing factors to increased on-premise dining in Q1. ▪ Customer satisfaction with delivered food quality, particularly heat-retention and moisture content, is driving attention toward development of improved carry-out meal packaging materials and solutions. (Nations Restaurant News) ▪ Sustainability, momentum for which abated early in the pandemic, has resurfaced as a regulatory priority with resumed legislative activities in Canada, Virginia, New York and Washington states and commercial programs of reusable packages for delivered or take-out meals are appearing in various larger metro areas. ▪ The restaurant industry's economic outlook may start to rebound in Q2, though haltingly. ▪ US hiring picked up substantially in late Q1, nearing 400,000 new jobs added per week. Canadian unemployment, however, spiked from 8.6% to 9.4% in February and was forecast to remain at that level in March. (Canadian Broadcasting Corp) Nearly a third of independent full-service restaurants are permanently gone due to Covid-19 per National Restaurant Association survey. And, deferred rental payments loom as a significant post-pandemic recovery threat for many independent restaurant operators. In a study by Nation's Restaurant News, 29% of restaurant operators don’t expect to return to normal operations until well into 2022. However, new business applications, of which restaurants typically comprise significant portions, are at record highs and restaurant hiring in the US topped 665,000 new jobs in Q1. (Congressional Budget Office) Warmer weather and pent-up demand for eating out expected to drive restaurant sales over the next two quarters.
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