When the coronavirus pandemic hit the world in 2020, emergency lockdowns, stay-at-home guidelines, and social distancing orders combined to create an unprecedented crisis for the entire restaurant industry. Despite restaurants starting to open back up again around the country, many have yet to open up to 100% capacity.

Customers are understandably still wary of going out in public, so restaurants can no longer rely on the same numbers of diners as they did before, and the market demand likely won’t see a return to pre-pandemic levels for a while. That’s why the food and beverage industry as a whole is looking for the right tools to ensure their business becomes viable again, both now and in the long-term. The landscape is a little different now in how diners are still enjoying their favourite food and beverage venues.

With that in mind, here are the different types of restaurant customers and how you can reach them during the pandemic.

Dining in

With less dine-in customers, some restaurants have decided to use the time to reconfigure their physical dining areas in order to accommodate social distancing requirements, while also addressing safety and hygiene concerns. Other eateries, cafes, and bars have created pedestrian delivery lanes, improved their ventilation, or increased diner privacy with separation between each table. Some restaurants now also offer table service via in-app orders, which not only enhances safety measures, but has also seen an increase in order sizes.

Home delivery

While the use of mobile food delivery apps has been on the rise for the last decade, the pandemic has made them more popular than ever. In addition to meeting the growing demand for online orders, restaurants need to fulfil each delivery order accurately while ensuring they arrive fresh to avoid damaging their brand. Creating delivery friendly menus will most likely be a no brainer, as long as they’re shorter and only consist of food that’s suitable for transportation in properly sealable packaging to preserve quality, aligned with consumer preferences. Also, given that people prefer ordering directly rather than with a third party, and increased delivery volumes will most likely continue, at least in the short term, restaurants need to evaluate which delivery model they should adopt.

Click & collect

As many consumers already have some experience with pre-ordering things like coffee, restaurants have now seen a massive increase in ordering via click-and-collect. Pre-ordering food from restaurants has understandably taken off as it has allowed both the pre-ordering of meals for both immediate pick up as well as a specific time in the future. This flexibility has helped many restaurants spread their peak-hour orders over time in order to optimise their capacity for fulfilment while simultaneously providing a socially-distanced payment option. Ultimately, it’s been a combination of adaptability and the established capacity of a venue to fill large numbers of orders that have separated restaurants who are succeeding with the online ordering from the ones who aren’t.

Looking ahead

The bottom line for most restaurants is that they need to remain as flexible as possible so they can support consumers, however they want to eat. Just remember that breaking bread together has defined the human race for millennia, so even though we’re all living through a pandemic, we will always crave the experience of eating together in a restaurant.


H&L POS – working with you to help you grow your business 

H&L POS has been delivering POS solutions with extensive back of house and staff management systems to the hospitality industry for more than 30 years. As hospitality people at heart, H&L understand the critical requirements for each food and beverage operation. We have staff in every state of Australia providing direction and advice as you grow and as technology changes.

Call us at 1800 778 340, email sales@hlpos.com or fill in the form below to discuss your venue’s needs.