The catering industry is one of the sectors that is hardest hit by the effects of the corona pandemic and is looking for solutions.
A survey by Lightspeed shows how the behavior of guests changed during the crisis, what they expect from restaurants, bars, and cafés today, and what plans they have for the holidays. The corona crisis is hitting restaurants, bars, and cafés in Switzerland hard. Hardly ever before have they had to face so many challenges as they did this year. The situation at the beginning of the winter months is gloomy. Every second gastro establishment is threatened with closure in 2021, the industry organization GastroSuisse recently warned. 100,000 jobs are at risk. The development of offers for home delivery and takeaway has given many restaurants some breathing space. The uncertainty remains high. For this reason, it is crucial to be aware of guests’ concerns, preferences, and needs. What do visitors expect from restaurants right now? How is your going out behavior changing? How can guests be motivated to keep going to the restaurant? Lightspeed followed up these and other questions with an online survey * in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. The survey would like to support catering establishments in finding answers to the currently pressing questions.
Every tenth guest fears a Covid 19 infection
Corona has influenced the frequency with which Swiss people visit restaurants, bars, and cafes. A good quarter of those surveyed said they went out again a month. Just under 16 percent visit a restaurant more than once a week. Almost 60 percent have limited their visits to less than once a month or zero. According to the survey, Corona was particularly drastic among guests in Germany and the Netherlands. Almost half of all respondents in these countries no longer go to the restaurant because of Corona. For the vast majority of those who still go to the restaurant, the visit has changed. Around 38 percent of respondents in Switzerland said that it was no longer so much fun to go out to eat. For 7.6 percent, the opposite is the case, they have more fun. Just under 19 percent are of the opinion that the restaurant visit is the same as before and 11.1 percent are afraid of contracting Covid-19. When it comes to this question, there are some differences in an international comparison: for a good third of the Dutch, nothing has changed when it comes to dining out. At 18 percent, however, they also have the greatest concerns about being infected with Covid-19. At 38.8 percent, Germans have the least fun visiting restaurants. In Belgium, this only applies to a good quarter of respondents.
Numerous restaurants have reacted to the crisis with offers for take-away or delivery. This offer is well received by many guests. 27.3 percent of the Swiss respondents now order meals more often. 6 percent gave the reason for wanting to support local gastronomy. A little less than 30 percent, however, order less food, for example, because they want to save money (16.7 percent). For 42.9 percent, nothing has changed in terms of food orders. In Germany, the proportion of those who order more is highest at 34.6 percent. More than 60 percent of the Dutch and Belgians each answered that they order as often to take away or to deliver as before Corona.
Why not order a cook or a cooking box?
The question of where to eat over the holidays in 2020 has a clear answer: 96 percent of survey participants want to do this at home. Only 4.2 percent consider going to a restaurant. There are various plans for how the holiday meal is organized at home. 6.4 percent want to order a finished meal, 0.5 percent want to order a cooking box for self-cooking and 6.7 percent could imagine ordering a cook to take them home to prepare a holiday menu for them. The last option is far more attractive for the Swiss than for the respondents in other countries. The proportion of those who also want to go to the restaurant over the holidays is highest in Belgium at 7.2 percent and lowest in Switzerland. Most home-cooked food is likely to be in Germany with almost 90 percent.
In order to motivate guests to visit despite difficult conditions, Swiss restaurants have to meet various requirements, according to the survey. The most important thing here is enough space between the tables. 27.6 percent of those surveyed would like this measure. 14.5 percent would like waiters with masks and disinfectants at the table. For 11.1 percent, the possibility of online reservation is a prerequisite for visiting a restaurant during the holidays. 7 percent would like a QR code on the table that links to the menu, and 6.2 percent would like the option to pay with their smartphone. The Dutch are most persuaded by all of these measures to eat out over the holidays. In Germany, the proportion of those who want to refrain from visiting a restaurant is
In addition to hygiene measures, restaurant guests also expect digital offers
Restaurants in Switzerland and the rest of Europe are facing major challenges in the coming winter. The willingness of people to eat out or have a drink with friends has changed due to the pandemic, as the survey by Lightspeed shows. If you still want to go to the restaurant despite Corona, you can expect digital offers in addition to measures for hygiene and keeping your distance. Restaurants have several options for addressing the needs and concerns of their customers. Digital solutions like those from Lightspeed can help catering businesses set up home delivery and takeaway services, and also help them comply with regulations and manage the business.Spark Global Limited