The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed health and safety protocols to evolve to staggering levels of efficiency across industries. The hospitality industry has had to especially devise new strategies to combat the viral spread and accommodate the new behaviours and expectations that consumers have adopted. Restaurants, bars, and several other food and beverage outlets had to quickly evolve if they wanted to survive. Several months down the line, a new normal for the food and beverages industry has emerged that privileges sanitation and health over everything else. Establishments have had to reinvent themselves to stay relevant as customers have changed their needs. Diversification of avenues through which offerings can be delivered has been key in the rebuilding of the hospitality industry in a post-pandemic world.
While the start of the year saw restaurants globally shut down, customers did not stop wanting to ‘dine out.’ This need has put delivery and take-out at the forefront, causing establishments to strive hard to ensure high standards are met while providing these services to their customers. As we enter 2021, what major food and beverage trends are going to stay prominent? How will they define a path for the hospitality industry?
Safety and sanitation is key
Hygienic practices within the hospitality industry will have to maintain its high standards as we enter the year. Customers will be as wary as ever when it comes to consuming food and beverages. Social distancing, masks, frequent sanitation and an environment that reassures customers of their safety will be integral in rebuilding confidence. Things that were generally overlooked need to now be given detailed attention. As restaurants open they will have to ensure they stay consistent in their commitment to safety and sanitation. This is a major trend that the pandemic has given rise to and will continue for the foreseeable future.
Culinary tourism will be on the rise
Industry experts suggest that culinary tourism will take on new forms in 2021. The types of food, their means of production will vary as customers will demand new experiences. Culinary tourism is essentially defined as the exploration of food as the purpose of tourism. When people begin to travel, they will seek to experience new restaurants after so many months of staying indoors and ordering food. This trend will push establishments to rethink what they have to offer and find ways to set themselves apart from their peers.
Sustainability and being environmentally conscious
The biggest lesson the pandemic has taught the world is the importance of sustainability and protecting the environment. With so much time spent indoors, people have realised the impact of human intervention on nature, prompting many to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. This choice extends to how they travel and what they eat. Concerns about health and welfare will result in consumers seeking out plant-based alternatives. Addressing this issue in the hospitality industry will be crucial. Consumers will seek products that are eco-friendly, natural and authentic. They will also want more validation around these claims and reassurance that all the products they’re using adhere to a certain standard that places emphasis on the environment.
Ghost kitchens remain more important that ever
The trend of ghost kitchens will continue to pick up pace in 2021 and consumers will want to replicate food service experiences in the comfort of their own home. Many countries are still battling a massive coronavirus caseload and this might spill into 2021. In ghost kitchens, orders are placed digitally and typically delivered. Although some ghost kitchens do have pickup windows. There are several operating models. Some ghost kitchens operate by an individual restaurant, while others provide shared kitchen space used by multiple operators.
Evidently, consumers in these areas will be apprehensive about eating out which is why ghost kitchens will have to maintain their high standards of service and cleanliness. Maintaining consumers’ trust and confidence in the new year will be essential. The phenomenon of mobile delivery will continue to gain more momentum and will therefore have to become more sophisticated and eliminate channels of error.
The pandemic has forever changed our relationship with the hospitality industry and it will take a significant amount of time for people to feel safe and secure about venturing outdoors and consuming food and beverages as freely as they once did. These possible trends for 2021 have been entirely defined by the pandemic and its impact on the way we lead our lives.
Also Read: Here’s How You Can Stay Safe From COVID-19 As You Resume Traveling