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What's the Financial Recovery Outlook for Independent Restaurants?

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October 13, 2020

2020 has been a tumultuous time for the restaurant industry. COVID-19 drastically changed the dining landscape and independent restaurant owners are still feeling the effects. As restaurants begin opening their doors, many wonder what recovery in the restaurant industry looks like right now. Our restaurant and bulk food supply professionals share the latest information as well as insight into recovery strategies. 

What Does Recovery in The Restaurant Industry Look Like Right Now?

At the beginning of the pandemic, restaurants across the U.S. shuttered their doors and waited for the green light to reopen. During that quarantine period, the economic toll on foodservice was almost instantaneous. Some restaurants could rapidly pivot their business plan toward a take-out model, but many restaurants waited to open their dining rooms. 

As some states begin to ease restrictions, restaurants are returning to business as customers begin to frequent their favorite establishments. While the restaurant industry as a whole is seeing some economic recovery, this recovery isn’t evenly distributed across establishments. According to some independent studies, large restaurant chains are rebounding more quickly than their independent restaurant counterparts. Some are suggesting that large restaurant chains have almost made a full recovery.

How Have Restaurant Chains Recovered? 

Chain restaurants have been able to recuperate some of their losses due, in part, to having multiple locations. In addition, they have the ability to transition to take-out or drive-through with minimal redesign. With the closure of dining rooms, fast-food chains and large restaurant groups could capitalize on the new curbside and delivery trends almost immediately. For them, the pivot wasn’t as dramatic as it was for independent restaurants.

Popular pizza chains saw a dramatic increase in sales at the beginning of “shelter in place” orders because their platform was familiar, easy, and didn’t require customers to leave their homes. Restaurants with multiple storefronts also have more marketing capabilities than smaller restaurants and could promote themselves efficiently. While large chain establishments might be faring better, there’s still hope for independent restaurant recovery.

What Can Independent Restaurants Learn From Big Chains?

To help your small restaurant boost its revenue, borrow some tactics from large chains, and apply them to your business model. Here are a few simple strategies that any restaurant can adapt to their unique establishment:

  • Prioritize convenience for your customers. Convenience and safety are major selling points to consumers. Think about ways to streamline your menu and develop a seamless take-out system. Curbside and delivery will continue to be a must in 2021 and beyond. Due to changes in COVID-19 orders in the foodservice industry, expect reopening rollbacks at any time. Being ready now to make the switch from dine-in to dine-out is necessary to be able to pivot quickly and continue to serve customers.
  • Create a dynamic marketing campaign. While you might not possess the marketing budget of a large restaurant chain, you can still make an impact through creative marketing techniques. Think of your reopening as relaunch and go bold.
  • Think about ways to expand your brand. Give your customers more reasons to love your establishment with some fun add-ons to help increase sales. Meal kits, house-made pastries, and even specialty condiments are great ways to increase profits. 

While recovery for small restaurants might seem like an uphill battle, it’s important to remember that independent restaurants have many unique advantages. Small restaurants offer personal attention, exceptional food, and personality that bring customers back again and again.

Our Wholesale Restaurant Supply Company is Here to Serve You

Help your restaurant food budget stretch further by choosing US Foods CHEF'STORE as your wholesale restaurant supply partner. Serving the culinary community for over 65 years, we pride ourselves on exceptional products, convenient online shopping, and knowledgeable associates. We now offer grocery delivery services so you can get our competitively priced products directly to your restaurant. 

We invite you to browse our products online. Have questions? Contact your local CHEF'STORE. We’re here to help!

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Restaurants In COVID-19 Infographic

The information materials and opinions contained in this blog/website are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations, or undertakings about any of the content of this blog/website (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content).

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