June 01 2020

'IN THE LOOP' - COVID-19 has brought changes to Food & Drink Businesses that would have taken years

In the course of just a few months, the hospitality sector; restaurants, pubs, bars, distributors and wholesalers have seen a rapid transition in the way they operate.

This was forced through the widespread, government-enforced closures and the strict measures put in place to keep the public, and workers safe. Closures for longer than a month would have caused irreversible damage to a lot of independent business all across the world; as sales halted completely, a lot of anxiety surrounding the future of businesses emerged.

These worries fuelled questions behind how businesses would continue to pay staff, rents and distributors for their products.

How have different businesses been impacted?

The switch was firstly seen by an increase in home-deliveries by Supermarkets and forward-thinking restaurants and pubs who setup Direct-to-Consumer systems.

Larger businesses could rely on the public’s knowledge of their brand for safeguarding, yet smaller businesses were placed under huge stress as the majority of their profits came from in-store consumption.

Additionally, E-commerce opportunities emerged as people are confined to their homes yet are still actively consuming goods and services.

Rapid Adaptations

Supermarkets with delivery systems in place prior to the closures were concerned with the increasing volume of deliveries, but smaller businesses have faced more challenging barriers.

Restaurants and pubs have quickly turned to the adoption of delivery systems, and a greater reliance on their local communities for sales.

One of Cornwall’s largest Independent Pub Chains has turned to a delivery management system - You can read the full story here.

How has COVID-19 & Convenience forced these changes?

The fears and risks behind contracting the virus have undoubtedly urged consumers to try home delivery systems, and a huge increase has proved that these systems are reliable and safe.

COVID-19’s impact on usual consumer habits has sped up a transition that we were already witnessing.

Data analysts Jim Watson and Bourcard Nesin have discussed the consumer shifts caused by the virus - They have pointed towards the changes to usual routines and lifestyle being the obvious causes of this massive transition to home deliveries and direct-to-consumer habits.

However, they also suggested that once restrictions have relaxed and the world we once knew returns, this demand for home-deliveries will decrease naturally and these temporary consumer habits will return to in-store consumption.

Despite this claim, there is no doubt that COVID-19 has caused technological advancements that would not have occurred for years otherwise, and there is a high chance that restaurants, pubs and local convenience stores will continue to provide their home-delivery services.

Why is this?

There has been a fair amount of uncertainty behind delivery systems amongst distributors, hospitality businesses, breweries and the like for years now. As with all technologies, it takes time before they become the norm.

COVID-19 has changed this usual pattern, and businesses who were uncertain about the reliability of delivery systems have been urged to adopt them. We are also seeing these systems proving successful for businesses across the UK, and so assuming that businesses will continue to use these systems is logical.

For more Industry news & updates, you can go to our blog, or for information about choosing a delivery management system, you can see an infographic explaining key things to consider here.

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