Rethinking the Restaurant Experience

Before everything was halted by the pandemic, the share of Canadians' food budgets for eating out at restaurants was rising. At the end of 2019, it was approaching 40%, and several experts believed that it would pass that marker in 2020. People were cooking less and less, they were always busy and they were looking for practical and enjoyable solutions. For restaurant owners, all the stars were aligning.

Despite the increasing competition from retailers, restaurant owners had an ace in their back pocket: the customer experience. Then, the virus came and this advantage was pulled out from under them.

And yet again, Canadian restaurant owners showed their incredible resilience, through the power of their creativity and passion. Thus, new business models are emerging everywhere:

  • Take-out counters offering simplified versions of the dishes offered on the dining room menu

  • Frozen meal options and grocery products put together by the chef

  • Pop-up restaurants

  • Convenience store/café hybrids

  • Outdoor space equal to or greater than indoor space

  • Farm-to-table restaurants

  • Etc.

The complicated situation, economically, logistically and in terms of human resources, also pushed restaurant owners to simplify and streamline their operations. Gone are 10-page menus listing dishes without personality or soul! Not only do these menus not meet the expectations of consumers, but they are also almost impossible to read on a smartphone…

But let's be careful not to oversimplify things, at the expense of the customer experience. With the constant increase in prices, consumers won't be expecting less from restaurants, on the contrary. Innovative ideas and collaborations will become more useful than ever in supporting restaurant owners.

Some of the most active areas of innovation in this sector today are robotization, ingredient revalorization, simplifying the supply chain and providing a safe environment.

If you are a part of the Canadian food ecosystem, your ideas and talent are needed! How do you see the restaurants of tomorrow, and how can you help in making that vision a reality? We would be happy to hear from you!