The search for an effective method to reach more diners while people are asked to stay at home is one of the most pressing challenges to the restaurant industry nowadays. Delivery services and apps as well as take-outs and curbside pickups help but they’re not enough for businesses to cover their expenses much less profit. This is why a large chunk of businesses struggle despite being a part of the essential services sector.
According to experts, take outs and deliveries only make up for a small portion of a restaurant’s income. A large chunk of it comes from dine-in guests, events, and catering services. All three are virtually non-existent in the past few months so lots of restaurants took major hits from the health crisis.
The Problem with Take Outs and Deliveries
Some might argue that many diners can easily transition to deliveries and take outs now that they can’t eat at their favorite restaurants. While it’s true that it’s ideally not too bothersome to go for the two, the current circumstances tend to change everything we know about deliveries and take outs.
Take outs, for example, aren’t as easy as it was before. As lots of people don’t venture out of their homes anymore, it’s not a convenient option anymore. In some stores, it will also still require people to step inside a store and get into an enclosed space with strangers. It’s not an ideal environment for folks who want to do everything to avoid the virus.
Chains with drive-thrus are said to be weathering the crisis rather well, however. Since the contact with the staff is limited and not direct, they seem to be safer so lots of people prefer them.
Deliveries, on the flip side, are handier but competition can be stiff, especially in a saturated market. Prices are marked up as well when using delivery apps, so some folks are put off by that. Sure, they can be exceptionally convenient but the costs can drive budget-strapped diners away.
Then, of course, there’s also the fact that people can now cook at home instead. Since they’re already home anyway, they can squeeze in a few minutes to an hour to spend in the kitchen to make their meals. As a result, even those who used to eat out a lot before the lockdowns were enforced may not necessarily be up to paying for cooked meals now that they’re staying at home.
Can Food Trucks Help?
With the limitations of the current formats most restaurants today have, maybe one good way for them to cope with the situation is by opting for a different format altogether. Food trucks seem to be a viable option for both diners and restaurant operators alike for many reasons.
For diners, food trucks will let you stay out in the open air at all times. You can order, pay, and even eat your food outside. As experts believe that staying outdoors and in well-ventilated areas help lower the risks of catching the virus, this is an attractive option for a lot of people.
For restaurants, food trucks offer an easier way to cater to their customers. Again, it won’t require customers to step inside the store so there’s less cleaning required. You’ll only really need to sanitize the surfaces of your counters, as well as tables and chairs if you have any setup outside. You don’t have to worry about ventilation as well as nature will do the work for you.
Operational hassles can also be effectively dealt with by employing a food truck set up. You can simplify your menu significantly if you operate one and you can cut down the number of employees as well. With less people on board, the less chances they’ll have of contracting the disease.
Switching to a food truck set up shouldn’t be too difficult for chains as a lot of them already use them for catering services. Waffle House, Buffalo Wild Wings, Shake Shack, and even the Olive Garden already have their own food trucks so why not give it a shot, right?
The Food Truck Industry is Not Without Its Challenges
While promising, the food truck setup also comes with challenges. Actual food trucks have also seen a decline in their sales due to lower foot traffic in their parking spots, permit issues, and difficulties in finding the perfect spot to attract more customers now that people are indoors. By recognizing these and applying their know-how and experience to address the concerns, however, they might just have a shot at utilizing the food truck concept to survive the pandemic.