Are we keeping our distance in the long term? The Corona crisis will permanently change guest and consumer behaviour.
How has Covid-19 changed the needs of the guest and his consumption behaviour? Above all: Which of his new gastronomic and consumption habits will he maintain? FOOD SERVICE spoke to Philipp Laqué, Managing Director at Revenue Management Solutions (RMS), about the most important insights into pandemic-related changes in the reasons for eating out and buying - and what this means for restaurateurs.
"Covid-19 has shifted the context of our lives
- including changes in the social and work environment, lifestyle and so on. And this leads to new habits," Philipp Laqué
, Managing Director at RMS, outlines the new starting point in an interview with FOOD SERVICE. Since consumer behaviour in gastronomy is also primarily dependent on the context of life - i.e. less on rational, analytically based decisions - and the majority of customers act on the basis of learned behaviour patterns, the pandemic is also very clearly influencing gastronomic and consumer behaviour
, according to the findings of the RMS experts.
„Covid-19 ist die erste Krise, an die sich die meisten von uns erinnern können, die ganzheitlich unseren Lebenskontext verschoben hat und von der jeder betroffen ist.“
The "disruptive" aspect of the Covid crisis is that people are having to deal with far-reaching cuts in
their social environment and lifestyle for the first time
. As a result, new routines and patterns of behaviour
and people had learned a new way of living, they observed. This had not happened to this extent before.
Old habits are passé
an average of 66 days
for new processes to become automatic, forming new routines and habits
. In the meantime, we have been living with these new processes for more than a year and one thing is quite certain: we will not go back to our old routines and habits!"
, emphasizes Laqué.
Habits that will stay after Covid-19!
- Generally speaking, new habits that are convenient, affordable or easily accessible to us have a high chance of survival after the pandemic, according to behavioral and consumer research theory.
- Home office forecast: the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and people will want to work from home more in the future - the extent is open to debate, according to the RMS expert's findings. The consequence: "Every working day at home reduces the classic lunch routine by 20 percent", Laqué states.
- Even some fitness and leisure activities (watching Netflix, cooking at home), which were shifted home by the pandemic, will proportionately stay there.
Challenges for the restaurant industry?
- New location requirements & distribution channels: Movement patterns will be more complex and multidimensional. Means: there will be fewer large crowds at central hubs, but more widely distributed, decentralized meeting points. It follows that: "Multidimensional sales channels are essential for future success," says Laqué.
- Adaptation of opening hours, product portfolio and packaging: Since daily routines will be oriented much more to individual needs than to rigid external organizational patterns in the future, this places new demands on the catering industry in terms of (time) availability and type of product portfolio, including to-go packaging.
- Changed guest expectations of operations and service: In the future, demand will increasingly be distributed to the right and left of the previous demand peaks, resulting in a reduced stress level for the gastronomy at peak times. But: "The guests will show less understanding for waiting times or slow service!"
The restaurateur & the new normal
- Absolute focus on the guest and their new needs!
- Increased consumer orientation and anticipation of changes in needs and frequency (continuous fact & data analysis of buying behavior, putting yourself in guests' shoes).
- Analyze best sellers, product usage, behavior patterns and reasons for purchase to create new consumer profiles."Tip: Tap into the wealth of knowledge of restaurant teams and franchise partners!"
About Revenue Management Solutions (RMS)
The experts at RMS advise companies in the hospitality industry on a wide variety of topics relating to corporate governance, brand management, marketing, decision-making, etc. As a global company, RMS has offices in the US, UK, France, Singapore and Tokyo.