For the food service industry, the pandemic has forced major changes. But now, with restrictions easing and people gathering, the sector is picking up, and a restaurant investment in 2021 is looking more and more viable. Here are four trends currently dominating the recovering industry post-COVID.
With up-to-date knowledge on exactly what’s making the sector tick, from restaurants to pubs and food delivery businesses, you’ll be able to determine whether an investment is the right call for you. By the end of this article, you should have answers for the following two questions:
- What does it take to run a restaurant franchise?
- What might it be like to run a restaurant franchise in 2021?
What is a restaurant franchise?
A restaurant franchise is, as you might have guessed, a restaurant operating under the franchise business model. Each restaurant franchise is different to the next, just as each restaurant is, serving anything from Italian to Mexican to Thai. Here are some examples of thriving restaurant franchises that are continuing to adapt and grow with the demands of 2021:
- Camile Thai Kitchen - Camile Thai Kitchen provides healthy and delicious thai food via its network of delivery-focused restaurants.
- Wolf - Wolf offers customers a delicious range of Italian street food, and is known for producing fast, convenient and healthy meals.
- Centenary Lounge - Inspired by the 1930s Art Deco period, Centenary Lounge serves scrumptious food, coffee and cocktails to customers.
- Rooster Shack - Rooster Shack is a fast food franchise, currently reinventing and elevating the chicken shop sub-sector.
- Wok to Walk - Wok to Walk produces healthy Asian food, and is the number one wok kitchen chain in Europe.
The shape of the food service industry post-COVID
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the food service industry, particularly restaurant and pub franchises, hard. Hospitality was the worst hit, and unemployment rates in the sector rose massively, reaching 4.9% in October 2020 [BBC]. Still, the sector has been making post-COVID gains, planning its comeback via the incorporation of things like:
- Flexible dining options
- Food delivery options
- New and improved menus
- An increased commitment to sustainability
Essentially, consumers miss dining out and they’ll return. But their behaviors have changed and they’re not changing back. That means restaurants are going to have to master the art of balance now more than ever.
—Alicia Kelso, Forbes
>> Read more:
- 12 Things to Consider When Identifying the Right Location for Your Restaurant Franchise
- 3 Ways to Get Funding For Your Restaurant Franchise
- Regulations and Licences Required to Open a Restaurant
- 14 Tips for Defining and Reaching Your Restaurant's Target Customers
- Hiring Employees for Your Restaurant
- Choosing a Concept for Your Restaurant
The top four restaurant, pub and food trends in 2021
1. Plant-based demand
The number of vegan and vegetarian people in the UK continues to grow in 2021. Even since the pandemic, the number has increased noticeably, with many people taking the time to reassess the way they live and eat. 7.2 million adults in the UK are meat-free [Truly Experience], and the number of vegan orders made on Deliveroo spiked by 163% in 2020. If you’re looking to enter the world of restaurant franchising right now, a vegan franchise could be a fantastic choice.
As a franchisee with a vegan restaurant or food company, you’d not only be enjoying high profits - you’d also be investing in a sustainable, ethical business for which demand only looks set to grow. Each day at work, you’d be encouraging people to live healthily and sustainably.
>> Read more:
- Run Your Own Vegetarian Restaurant
- 6 Advantages of Running a Japanese Restaurant Franchise
- How to Start Your Own Pizza Restaurant Franchise
- Top 11 American Restaurant Franchises in the UK
- Chicken & Waffles- Why Not Create Your Own Restaurant?
- American Burger: How To Start Your Own American Burger Restaurant
2. Flexible operations and planning for different eventualities
Hopefully, the country is on the road to normality, and businesses within the restaurant industry will be able to operate as normal consistently going forwards. Hopefully. If the pandemic has taught business owners across the globe anything, it’s this: It pays to be prepared, and you can never truly know what’s just around the corner.
In this unprecedented time, the ability to operate flexibly (whether that’s been outdoors, or at half-capacity, or as a delivery-only restaurant for a time) has been really helpful for restaurants attempting to weather the COVID storm. In 2021, many restaurant franchises will be looking to carry this flexibility forward, making plans for eventualities that might have seemed distant and unlikely pre-COVID.
3. Delivery services
At the beginning of the first UK lockdown in March 2020, many people believed that the pandemic would only last a couple of weeks. But when the novelties of baking banana bread, redecorating the house and eating home-cooked meals wore off, many Brits turned to food delivery services, desperate for a high-quality meal cooked by someone else.
Food delivery services have become increasingly popular in the past few years, and during the pandemic, the number of people getting restaurant food delivered to their doorsteps increased by 18% [Statista]. Whether you’re looking to run a restaurant franchise with delivery options, or looking to start a food delivery business, franchise opportunities are out there, waiting for you.
4. Pop-up restaurants
As things won’t go back to how they were for some time, if at all, we think there will be a lot of pop ups and some of these may even remain permanent as they’ve worked so well.
—Katie and Rick Toogood, Prawn on the Lawn/Barnaby’s
A pop-up restaurant is a temporary restaurant which appears for a short space of time to give customers a little taste of what’s on offer. Often a fixture of festivals and events, pop-up restaurants have been popular in 2020 and 2021 as they’re a way to test the waters, in an uncertain time, without risking a huge loss of income. They’re also a way for young professionals to enter the culinary game and make a name for themselves.
Whether you’re looking to continue travelling the circuit, cooking on the go with a food truck franchise, or just looking to run a pop-up for a while and get a sense of demand, this trend is worth paying attention to. This trend allows for flexibility and experimentation, and often creates an adventurous and exclusive-feeling customer experience.
Interested in running a restaurant franchise?
Now, you likely have a clear picture of the industry, and the trends that are working for restaurant franchisees right now. If the sector appeals to you and you feel ready to take the next step, stay on Point Franchise. Discover the regulations and licenses required to open a restaurant, and peruse the five advantages of opening a fast food restaurant franchise.
Lily Sweeney, Point Franchise ©