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Saturday, May 25, 2024

The Rise of “Take-Out Only”: How Cafes and Restaurants Are Surviving the Lockdown

The word ‘unprecedented’ has understandably been used at every turn to describe the impact of COVID-19, but the hospitality scene might have been hit the hardest. Despite these circumstances, cafes and restaurants have risen to the challenge and adapted to a different format so that they can continue to trade and cater to their locals. If you have spared a thought to those owners, full-timers and casuals in the hospitality industry, let’s discover how they are surviving and what we can learn from this critical pivot they have made in record time.

Leverage third-party delivery services

For those restaurants and cafes that don’t have the luxury of quickly building their own delivery infrastructure, third-party delivery services can be an incredibly useful tool in getting more exposure and a number of subsequent orders. For businesses who had already invested in smart point of sale software, this is where real-time stock inventory can make this process a lot quicker. With almost all services switching to a contactless format, restaurants and cafes can continue to source their supplies and perfect their craft with minimal disruption to their customers and their employees. One thing to note is that UberEats, MenuLog, DoorDash and all those platforms, take a percentage of that sale sometimes as high as 30%. If you have fallen in love with a restaurant on these platforms, jump on their socials to see if they have a website and their own delivery service. That way your support and money goes directly to the restaurant, rather than a third-party.

Product offering diversification

You might think that the delivery service was inevitable, but what no one predicted was that cafes and restaurants would start bringing incremental products to their customers. And how could we have predicted this, as there isn’t necessarily a restaurant survival guide that these businesses have on hand? Now we are seeing that you can get your eggs, bread, toilet paper and wine at your corner cafe store, and many other items that might be unique to the certain area or establishment. This only strengthens their position in the area as being a preferred and trusted supplier, as well as an additional revenue stream that is being embraced across the board. Who wouldn’t pick up dinner and a few essentials on the morning coffee run? When COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror, I think cafes and restaurants will continue to sell amenities, alcohol and Cryovaced meals due to the overwhelming response they are seeing. 

Leaning on the loyalty earned in stabler years

For the cafes and restaurants who have Toronto catering delivery invested in their customers in one way or another, they will not necessarily be feeling the same blow as others. Loyalty is a battle hard-won, and while the power of it can significantly contribute to your bottom line in the good times, it also ensures their support in the harder times. We’ve seen such a huge outpouring of support for our locales, with t-shirts, cups and other merchandise product sales providing yet another way for customers to contribute and show their support while getting a trinket in return. Loyalty also translates to the patience of the market, with loyal customers able to accommodate any type of operation or hurdles that might be in the way. Sure, maybe collecting your coffee from a grubby car park isn’t as beautiful as the usual decor of this cafe, but your customers will look past this if they are there for you.




Cafes and restaurants have shown an incredible effort in securing their future, and 2020 will likely hold many more innovations for these entities. We, as the public, can support every change that is rolled out, as we don’t want to see our favourite locales closing under these circumstances and never to be seen again.