We are well into the second year of the pandemic. It has had a devastating effect on business and the restaurant industry was one of the hardest hit.

But with the Covid-19 vaccine being rolled out, there might finally be cause for some cautious optimism that restaurants will be able to resume the kind of trade that resembles pre-pandemic times again. So what will our post-pandemic operations look like? In Part Two of this series, we look at strategies for post-pandemic success and a new organisation that could benefit the South African restaurant industry. Don’t forget to check out Part One here.

Food delivery’s continued success

One of the glimmers of hope in the industry has been the rapid adoption of food delivery technology. During the harsher lockdowns, there was a shift to online buying which meant that more restaurant patrons were using this option. Will food delivery continue to drive revenue for restaurants? If US pizza chain Domino’s is anything to go by, the answer is yes. Its same-store sales rose 3.5% for the chain’s 41st straight positive quarter as consumers continued to order delivery. This indicates that consumers will continue to order delivery even if they are leaving the house more often.

Domino’s CEO Ritch Allison said that the results “demonstrated the power of our investments in innovation, our focus on food quality and superior service, and our dynamic franchisees who are dedicated to serving their local neighbourhoods”.

We should note that the South African Domino’s chain was liquidated after Taste Holdings announced in 2019 that it was going to exit its food businesses. It said it had failed to find a suitor to take over the brand locally.

A voice for the restaurant industry

The Restaurant Collective was recently established in South Africa in response to the current challenges in the industry. The aim of this organisation is to present a single voice for multiple players and to organise and collect data from restaurant operators to lobby the government more effectively. This will address issues such as the fact that there is currently no record of how many restaurants there are or how many people work in the sector, and how these numbers were affected by the pandemic

According to Eat Out Magazine, The Restaurant Collective is focused on the sit-down restaurant industry and hopes to fill part of this gap as it begins to formalise. It already counts the three largest restaurant groups in the country – Spur, Ocean Basket and Famous Brands – as members. Natasha Sideris is also a founder member, and when you add her Tashas franchisees, the number of outlets across just these four groups is close to 1 500.

The plan for The Restaurant Collective

The Restaurant Collective spokesperson (and CEO of Ocean Basket), Grace Harding, says it is busy formalising and registering as a non-profit organisation. The organisation will focus on upskilling and implementing nationwide standards “with a platform to upskill grillers, waiters, scullers. We want to focus on building the capabilities of the entrepreneurs and the skills of the employees. Solutions on how to work more effectively with landlords in the bigger mall properties and addressing issues like food costs, wastage, labour, scheduling.”

We hope that The Restaurant Collective will provide some help for restaurateurs to survive in these challenging times.

Pilot’s intuitive software and smart, robust hardware combine to give you the power to manage every aspect of your restaurant. Our Point of Sale software is your one-stop solution to ensure that your new restaurant has a competitive advantage starting from day one. To find out more about how our PoS software can assist you, check out our infographic.