As we all face a third year of the pandemic, few can deny the impact COVID-19 has had on nearly every aspect of society. Foodservice was particularly hard hit. In 2020 and 2021, operators went into survival mode in the face of variants, government restrictions, inflation, supply issues, and worker shortages. Now, in 2022, many are beginning to take a look at what lies ahead in the wake of changes in consumer dining behaviors and the long-term implications they hold.
Other major global events like the World Wars and the Great Depression proved to permanently alter the mindset of whole generations. They also led to innovations in what we eat that are still with us today. Many social commentators are now comparing Millennials to the Depression-era generation as both groups endured events that impacted housing, habits, income, spending, and more. In fact, 83% of modern-day consumers think the pandemic has changed their lifestyles forever.*
As these consumers ate out less often, many improved their cooking skills and started gardening to create their own food supply and live more frugally. In addition, working from home has allowed them more time to cook and enjoy meals in. That’s not to say foodservice doesn’t have a big opportunity to navigate and adjust to better suit post-pandemic life. With 75% of consumers saying they’re looking forward to new food and beverage trends in 2022,* now is the time for operators to embrace change and thrive.
Going forward, third-party delivery, pick up, and drive through options that operators offered to survive will remain key as consumers are now used to these conveniences. Quality is something to keep in check with these approaches though, as not all foods travel well. In addition, offering consistently trend-right dishes at good prices is important… even with continuing staffing challenges.
A partner like NSP can help! We have our finger on the pulse of what’s new and emerging in foodservice and can help save labor with fully cooked or speed scratch items, all while thrilling guests with the flavors they’re craving most. Talk to your NSP rep today or call 918-274-8787 for help assessing your unique situation and what opportunities we can offer through innovative products and processes.
*Datassential 2022 Annual Trend Report