The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the restaurant industry in a number of ways. The need to contain the virus and make the most of limited resources has led restaurant owners to explore innovative practices. On the other hand, there has been a profound shift in consumer habits. To capture the latest market trends, we recently released the Indian Edition of the POSist Restaurant Industry & Market Evolution (PRIME) Report 2021. After the launch of the Indian edition, we have now come up with the UAE PRIME Report which will highlight the potential areas for improvement and growth opportunities in the UAE restaurant industry.
Top Insights From The UAE Edition Of The POSist Restaurant Industry & Market Evolution (PRIME) Report
In order to provide a diversified overview of the restaurant industry, we conducted an online survey in the month of March that obtained responses from 100+ restaurant operators across the UAE. The respondents consisted of professionals associated with casual dining restaurants, fine-dining establishments, cloud kitchens, quick service restaurants, cafes, bakeries, food courts, and other formats. Their insights into the changing consumer preferences such as online deliveries, health-conscious diets, and others have been documented in detail in our report.
It aims to equip restaurateurs with the latest information on emerging industry trends that will assist them in efficient decision-making. Here are some of the main topics that will be covered in this report.
1. Why Restaurant Automation Is A Solution To All The Pressing Concerns
The pandemic has made restaurateurs realize the significance of technology. There are a number of challenges that they face on their journey of returning back to normalcy, for instance, high operating costs, which has led them to adopt technology solutions.
The survey highlights that six out of ten restaurants are willing to invest more than one-fifth of their revenue in technology solutions in order to fill the void that the pandemic has created in the industry.
2. Rise Of Cloud Kitchens And Online Delivery
COVID-19 has compelled many restaurants to shift to the delivery-only business model and scale down dine-in services for a short term. This has given a boost to both cloud kitchens and online deliveries. Investing in cloud kitchens bodes well for growth not only amidst the pandemic but also in future.
When asked, 65% of the respondents said they were willing to invest in cloud kitchens or delivery-only outlets. The UAE PRIME Report will further give you detailed insights demonstrating the rise of cloud kitchens and online deliveries.
3. Why Restaurants In The UAE Should Invest In Technology
Following the technological trends is necessary to meet customer expectations, who increasingly want orders or reservations and deliveries to be placed with a single click. In the survey, one-third of the restaurants stated that online delivery contributed to half of their revenue in the year 2020 as it not only increased the customer base but also improved their experience, which eventually accelerated the profitability of UAE restaurants.
4. Consumer Trends In The UAE Restaurant Industry
The pandemic has remarkably changed how the restaurant industry views customer experience. It has now become essential for the customers to know that the place they are dining at or getting their food delivered from, is following all the sanitation norms. Therefore, elements like quality, value for money, location, and staff have become even more important as compared to the pre-pandemic times. As per the UAE PRIME report, enhancing the customer experience is the number one priority for almost 60 percent of restaurant operators. This enhancement can be carried out by keeping the restaurant operations in line with the ongoing consumer trends.
Apart from the rising popularity of online deliveries, customers’ eating habits and preferences have also changed. Many restaurant professionals we surveyed pointed out that almost half of the diners preferred to order a healthier meal in recent times.
5. How To Manage Operating Costs During And Post COVID-19
The pandemic has proven to be an extremely grim learning experience for the UAE restaurant industry with regards to financial inefficiencies. Restaurateurs across different formats have been adopting various strategies to manage cash flow in an optimized way, for instance, closure of non-performing outlets, labor optimization and robust CRM systems, amongst others.
Furthermore, launching digital loyalty programs is also one of the creative ways to retain customers and encourage repeat sales. We discovered that besides online deliveries, UAE restaurateurs are engaging their customers with attractive digital loyalty programs to retain them.
6. Potential Growth Areas Of Investment In 2021
In this era of fierce competition, UAE restaurateurs are actively looking for potential growth opportunities to invest in. Interestingly, 66 percent of respondents picked cloud kitchen as the key growth area while 52 percent and 41 percent were interested in opening a restaurant in a new location and going tech-first respectively.
Stay tuned for the upcoming article in this series where we distil the top insights contained in our report. It aims to provide a diversified perspective of the restaurateurs about the hurdles faced and the strategies adopted by them to bring themselves back in the game.