There’s no denying the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected the restaurant industry along with its catering services.
The current situation is all about change, in fact, a very rapid change. Change that no one ever thought of. Food consumption and eating habits are likely to be more impacted as a result of new concerns that hovers about hygiene, personal safety, and social distancing. Fear of contagion results in reduced visits to food markets, a shift in consumption and buying patterns of food – lower restaurant traffic, increased e-commerce deliveries, and a rise in eating at home.
Amidst, all this scenario the business of catering services has seen a significant decline in the last few months and is likely to continue in the future. Big fat weddings, social events, birthday parties, and other events have stopped due to the spread of the virus. People are celebrating smalls events at home and preparing their own food. Stay home has become the new normal.
Digital Trends in Catering Industry
It is quite difficult for the catering business to sustain in current times, but still, there are some ways in which the catering services can bounce back by adopting various digital means. Digitalization has already impacted everyone in many ways and it is here to stay.
So, putting some light on this topic, key digital trends in catering services that can be initiated during the pandemic-
1. Chatbots for Business: Chatbots are a great way to optimize your customer interactions. Using the AI-powered chatbots for WhatsApp or Messenger can make your work with less staff and avoid office staff to work remotely. With this AI-powered chatbots, updating Menu, interacting with customers is automated. Only for the final settlement or negotiation customer has to reach the Business or business can reach the customers to confirm.
2. Digitalization of Offices: Using Free Team Collaboration tools like CRM, Drives, Share Point, and other free tools. Dependency on physical information sharing is reduced. Work from home also evolved in the Catering Industry. We all know depending on the availability and season the Catering Menu changes frequently updates. These all updates are captured in a shared drive and shared across the team. Using the CRM tools the total cycle from customer interaction to bill collection is tracked and necessary actions are done by different departments.
3. Adopting Digital Marketing: Using Digital Marketing for reaching your customers. Adopting various Inbound marketing strategies with the help of digital marketing experts to reach potential customers through digital means. Social Media is another powerful tool to reach your customers to attract them by showcasing appealing graphics that reflect your business and specialists. Using Local Business feature from google to increase your visibility among user business region.
4. Mobile interaction: Since mobile-ordering was already a fast-expanding phenomenon, it can work well in context to catering services. The catering service provider can bring their device or app wherein the client can send the list of the guests attending the event. Through this, the provider can send a customized message and capture the exact number of guests. They can take up some necessary measures to practice social distancing.
5. Digital table/menu for events: Since events can be of various types, the catering service provider can help the guest book their tables digitally and make necessary adjustments. The menu will be sent to each of the guests to choose their preference. This will enable no contact and no waiting in queue to the guest for the food. The caterer shall keep the plate in the table and practice the preventive measures without human contact
6. Online delivery: Another digital trend in catering services is the online delivery system. The catering service provider can develop their app and send customized messages to their existing clients for the online option with necessary preventive measures like contactless delivery, fresh and hygienic food. This will instill the client for placing the order and prevail in the services.
7. Switch to the E-commerce Option: E-commerce sector is one of the booming industries in the pandemic. Since the virus abstains from stepping out, e-commerce platforms like the Big Basket, Grofers, Flipkart, etc., are functioning by fulfilling basic human needs. The catering services provider can come in this space by tying with top e-commerce providers and bounce back in the market.
8. Collecting Digital Feedback: Collect feedback from your clients. Collecting the feedback was face to face before this pandemic. Now due to no contact services to minimize face to face interactions several digital means are used. Many of the Catering industries are using Google Forms to collect customer feedbacks like the standard feedback form. This is really helping customers to share valuable feedback easily.
Evolution is mandatory for every business to sustain, the catering industry is no different from this. During the pandemic, the Hotels, Restaurants, and Catering industries are badly impacted like any other industry. Still now, the catering industry which ran in a more traditional way is hugely relying on the technology and adapting it for it come back. Let us know what are the different digital trends you have observed.