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Should restaurateurs change their business after upon reopening?

Recently, business owners, and specifically restaurateurs, have started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and discussions have started to turn to what the new normal will look like when everyone is allowed to return to full service.

Between owners and patrons alike, these discussions revolve around all the exciting new features that many restaurants have put in play.

I set out to find out what changes consumers would like to see remain, what restaurants plan on keeping, and what has fallen by the wayside. I acquired about 50 different responses from self-proclaimed foodies and business owners, and found the following trends.

Don’t lose your online menu!

This one should be a no-brainer, but customers like options in loyalty. There is a lot of consensus here between restaurant owners and that online ordering has changed the game for small businesses and it would be a real shame if they were to go away.

Family Packs should be here to stay!

Perhaps not surprisingly, the proliferation of family packs was the top change mentioned by commenters. It represented about 60-75% of the responses received. The average response looked something like this:

I definitely like the family meals to go or be served in the restaurantĀ šŸ‘

Most restaurant owner commenters indicated that they will continue serving family packs in the future. Where it gets interesting is in pricing of these family packs. Some feel like their current pricing is too low, and will need to adjust when dining resumes normally. Some want to provide family packs at the same cost when doing takeout/curbside, and charge a higher price for dine in service. Personally, I’m very interested in patrons would feel about this, so if you have a take, leave a comment below.

Curbside is also appreciated by families.

I was surprised by the number of people who commented on curbside. I thought that this would be valued, but not at the rate is was. Almost all responders indicated that they had children and that curbside increased their dine out rate. This was best summed up best by this comment:

 As a mom with two toddlers whose husband works out of town half the year, curbside has been the only way Iā€™ve been able to eat out since my youngest was born.” – Lynden Haley Briscoe

Alcohol isn’t as important as you think.

I was floored by this. Of all the respondents, only 1-2 mentioned alcohol delivery services. Given that most respondents were in text where this was permitted, I believed this was going to be a much higher percentage.

I have a hunch on this. Given that alcohol is still widely available at restaurants, most people are drinking for the social aspect. Therefore, although the average consumer believes there is convenience in getting their favorite drinks delivered, the primary reason for ordering these drinks to begin with has always been social.

A couple other fun notes

There were just a couple other things mentioned once or twice that were worth mentioning here.

  1. A couple people loved being able to go to their favorite restaurants and not have them be as crowded. They see this as a real plus.
  2. Almost everyone responded to all the changes positively. This could be selection/responder bias, but I believe people think the local business community has responded well.
  3. One person suggested that chips and salsa be delivered curbside while waiting for a table. I actually think this is a killer idea. Not only would it be attractive to potential customers, it also makes me think there are a bunch of cool ways to market this idea.

What’s the change you want to see? If you have one, let me know in the comments below!