The food and beverage industry has been hit particularly hard by this COVID-19 storm. Brands have to take further steps to survive this pandemic. Read on to know more...
With the onset of the pandemic, many unprecedented and massive changes have surfaced in people’s lives. This, in turn, has affected various industries as well. It is considered the black swan for all the industries across the globe. With the number of COVID-19 cases rising daily, there is very little to be expected in terms of the businesses being uplifted as people are not able to go anywhere during the lockdown. The lifestyle of people changed across the globe and India is no different. We witnessed a crisis like never before with the economy took a massive hit.
COVID-19 had a devastating impact not only on the domestic brands but also on some of the well-known international QSR giants. The F&B Industry was on the verge, brands and big players had to modify their business models in order to sustain the hailstorm. In India, the F&B industry has statically been unorganized and fragmented for years. With the current situation, the magnitude of problems has immensely multiplied. Owing to people’s hysteria about food ordering, the industry had to redesign and strategize to cope with changing customers’ behavioral patterns and also, survive the ongoing crisis.
The health crisis brought with it a strong need to restructure how businesses function. The contagious nature of this virus will make it impossible for F&B businesses to thrive without new systems largely focusing on hygiene. Clearly, food hygiene, personal hygiene, workplace hygiene, and food packaging hygiene will be the prime focus from here on.
Earlier, brands had three main areas to differentiate themselves in the market – superior taste, unique cuisine, and quick deliveries. These three aspects were often the USP for most brands across the industry. At present, the industry has witnessed even regular patrons being wary of opting for food from restaurants due to the highly communicable virus. This means that there is a need for a new perspective on branding in terms of hygiene, standardization, and a highly trained on-ground team in the kitchen.
In six months from now, time will be definitely different. We all have to understand that now it is the survival of the fittest and cleanest. Before the pandemic, Indian businesses had barely given any emphasis on standardization with respect to hygiene and the health of the employees. Business mindsets definitely seem to be changing now and to withstand the crisis, the entire industry needs to consolidate its power and come up with higher levels of standardization.
Another notable trend to keep in mind is the rise of online ordering. There will be a further rise in this trend over the coming months. Every F&B brand currently needs to reassess its business model and embrace this change to actually be able to survive the pandemic to come forward as a winner. As nobody knows how things will go with covid-19 even in the future, we need to make food aggregator platforms a huge part of our lives and businesses.
The biggest contributor to every F&B business’s fixed cost is their rentals and there has been no relief on that either. Brands will have to start looking for affordable alternatives for their larger on ground estates and high operating costs. For franchise based F&B brands, kiosk spaces, dark kitchens or cloud kitchens or micro-retail kitchens can prove to be super effective and great alternatives. The franchise brand owners need to support their franchisee partners in this situation by helping them find alternate solutions to reduce costs.
While the lockdown period is often looked at as a curse due to lower sales, it has also posed itself as an effective time to re-evaluate the businesses. Brands can actually utilize this lockdown time effectively by rewriting their brand bibles and their standard operating procedures. This will help in the standardization and trust-building of the consumers over the coming months.