Restaurant Industry News Roundup: October 2020
Congratulations! You’ve escaped the haunted mansion, outrun the crazed recluse, and survived past the tenth level of the year. As winter approaches, the entire restaurant industry faces new challenges, with some states totally restricting dine-in options and other revamping seating to ensure their customers feel safe. We’re looking back over the restaurant spooky season and wondering what other twists and turns may lay ahead for the rest of the year.
U.K. Christmas Bookings Drop by 75% As a Result of Restrictions.
Since the beginning of the “rule of six” and the 10 pm curfew in the U.K., Adactus found that 37% of patrons had canceled their reservations on Christmas Day due to the restrictions. Additionally, Adactus reports that 45% have revised their dining plans for New Year’s Day, 26% on Boxing Day, and 19% on Christmas Eve across the industry. Based on research, 77% will redo their reservations for the holidays if the “rule of six” was lifted by the holidays. Essentially, people are opting to dine at home, with Seventy percent reporting that they plan to celebrate at home because they’ll be hosting more than six people.
Per Adactus managing director Scott Muncaster, the research has found that “people are not changing their Christmas plans due to their fear of catching the virus, but due to the ‘rule of six’ and 10 pm curfew.”
As Winter Weather Approaches, Restaurants Get Creative with Outdoor Dining.
Cold weather is approaching quickly. What are restaurants doing as creative options for outdoor dining? Like many in the industry, once restaurants re-opened in the late spring, Des Moines restaurant Jesse’s Embers used their parking lot for outdoor eating options. According to Deena Edelstein, Jesse’s Embers owner, a move helped the restaurant cover expenses. About 49 percent of full-service restaurants will extend seating efforts by adding tents and heaters to their patio spaces. According to the National Restaurant Association, ever since the pandemic began, 1 in 6 restaurants closed their doors. Due to this, the organization is pushing local leaders to offer restaurants to expand the outdoor dining season and offer restaurant incentives like easing permit restrictions and providing tax credits on outdoor dining equipment.
Restaurants are also looking towards delivery, including Alexander Hall, owner of several restaurants around Des Moines. Hall wants to focus on efforts and strategies towards delivery. He holds hope that with delivery, his concepts can last through the winter to see spring.
End of the Chicken Sandwich Wars? Not So Fast, Zaxby’s Says
The Chicken Sandwich War started when Popeye’s debuted their Chicken Sandwich by trolling Chick-fil-A via Twitter. Every quarter since Q3 2019, Popeye’s has seen year-over-year sales consistently in the double digits across the United States. Even though the pandemic has wreaked havoc throughout 2020, the industry has seen steady chicken sandwich sales. In October, Zaxby’s launched the “Zaxby’s Signature Chicken Sandwich.” They even directly engaged Popeye’s with a tweet referencing Popeye’s initial tweet from 2019, saying, “Y’all ready?”. Even further, Zaxby’s took steps to create marketing hype, including “Chickenflauge” uniforms, the rollout of a digital advertising campaign, and market research to cultivate the freshest ingredients. Do you want to know more details about Zaxby’s new chicken sandwich? QSR Magazine sat down with Zaxby’s CMO, Joel Bulger.
Bring a Blanket: Restaurants Consider How to Continue Outdoor Seating.
We’re entering the colder months of the year, and the restaurant industry is adapting their outdoor seating spaces to maintain a sense of customer safety. In June in Columbus, IN, the city approved Fourth Street’s closure on Fridays and Saturdays through Halloween to create more outdoor seating opportunities. Restaurant owners have cited a positive reaction to the change and are adjusting their own hours accordingly. By the end of October, Fourth Street Bar and Grill was approved to continue the outdoor seating extension through the rest of 2020. Local owners are also looking to jump into and maintain carry-out business through the cold season. Meanwhile, like the restaurant industry, owners are pushing for help from government leaders and the community in general.
How has the pandemic altered your course? Click the link below for our page containing helpful restaurant resources for the COVID-19 outbreak.
About the Author
Devyn Nance is the Marketing Coordinator at QSR Automations. She graduated from the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and from Loyola University Chicago with a master’s degree in Global Strategic Communication. She considers herself an (amateur) profiler – trained solely from watching every episode of Criminal Minds. Outside of work, Devyn loves to shop, travel, hang out with friends and family, read, and watch shows on various streaming platforms.