As the country reopens after a year-long shut down of most businesses, more and more restauranteurs are deciding to remain in fast casual or take out model. After seeing the proven sales, without the inflated labor of front of house staffing, and the guarantee of quality food, trimmed down businesses are here to stay.
When Covid lock downs began sweeping the nation, many operators had to pivot their business to maintain income levels to support their lease and loans. Even though they were shut down, it did not mean they had no expenses. So, becoming creative was a necessity. In Portland, OR, Clyde Common shut down its 100-seat bar and restaurant and converted to a market and to-go operation. Though Oregon is and has been allowed to reopen indoor seating, hey plan to remain in this format (though at some point hope to introduce a cocktail bar.) In Chicago, Fat Rice transitioned to a general store selling hard to find kitchen supplies that are usually only available for restaurants, with upscale meal kits to take home.
More and more businesses are proving the model’s success. Over 2020, the average consumer worked hard to make their home feel more comfortable for every condition, including “dining out.” So, when it was time to go back to restaurants, plenty of consumers found their homes more appealing to host high quality takeout.
As labor wages rise and staff is harder and harder to find, it is more feasible for the operator to only staff back of house employees and cashiers. Another notch to the business model adjusting permanently is the allowance of states and counties changing liquor laws to allow take out on cocktails and retail sales of alcohol at retail price. Some legislators have already announced these laws will not be reversed as the economy opens, incentivizing take out even more.
As third-party delivery companies become more ubiquitous, it is difficult for any restaurant to escape the pull of a DoorDash sticker on their front window. Creating a business that facilitates carry out has become a necessity and Gilkey Restaurant Consulting can help build or transition your business into the fast casual money maker you can operate.