“Pent-up demand” is the phrase of the moment. Unified Brands supplies tips to help foodservice operations prepare for more customers this summer
There is a boom in consumer spending expected this summer, with a combination of vaccinations and warmer weather providing hope for those who have felt stuck at home for more than a year.
In the service industry, particularly foodservice, there is optimism that summer 2021 will show an uptick of eager consumers ready to finally enjoy dining out again. According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurant sales rose 13.7% in March compared to February – still below pre-pandemic levels, but a trend in the right direction. While the stimulus checks certainly helped, one economist told the Wall Street Journal they expect a burst in consumer spending this summer, particularly with restaurants and bars.
However, the potential of an influx in demand creates an unusual situation for foodservice operations, especially ones that may have had to cut staff to simply stay afloat in 2020: Do you preemptively hire more staff now and hope for the best? Or wait until sales are actualized and staff are overwhelmed to hire?
With restaurants facing a potential fork in the road, here are some tips to help foodservice operations prepare for more customers without the stress of feeling understaffed.
Find equipment that can reallocate labor
A potential influx of customers this summer could keep foodservice staff busier than ever, so equipment that reallocates your workers to more important tasks become extremely valuable.
You can’t afford to have three people cleaning pots and pans when there’s a full house of customers. For example, only one operator is needed to clean pots and pans with the Power Soak Intro, so you can ensure social distancing and cut time spent on that task by 50% compared to manually hand scrubbing in a 3-bay sink. Employees can let Power Soak’s parallel wash flow do the work for labor savings and better, more consistently clean pots and pans.
Look for equipment that helps maximize your staff.
Find equipment that can be shipped quickly
The busy summer is sure to hit more than the service industry.
Because of the anticipated boost in consumer spending, some manufacturers are proactively building equipment to meet the expected influx. The aforementioned Power Soak has a quick-ship program, for example. Available in several Power Soak Intro options, the pre-built SKUs save precious time on orders to get your operation ready to go.
It could pay off to install new equipment now, instead of trying in the midst of a busy season.
Stay calm and stay positive
It’s been a roller coaster ride of epic proportions for foodservice operations. The pandemic brought dark days in 2020, but this summer will hopefully bring things a little closer to “normal.”
If the predicted pent-up demand does turn into real sales, it could bring stressful chaos to understaffed restaurants. During hectic times this summer, though, it’s important to remember that’s a good problem to have. Hopefully the dark days are behind us.
In the unpredictable world of foodservice, we must all plan ahead, invest in the future and, most importantly, enjoy the ride.
Here’s to brighter days in 2021!