Why Right Now Is the Best Time to Open a Restaurant

restaurant kitchen
Credit: Michael Browning / Unsplash

It’s no secret that the restaurant industry has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with many businesses being forced to either adapt their offerings or shut down. While it may take some time for things to return to “normal,” the restaurant industry is slowly beginning to recoup its losses — and it’s expected to return stronger than ever this year.

If you’re considering opening a restaurant, here are five reasons 2021 is the best time to do it.

1. There’s strong community support.

Due to the pandemic’s lasting impact on such businesses, customers are increasingly supporting small and local businesses in their community, and restaurants are no exception. And since a lot of business is taking place digitally today, many people are seeking out their favorite eateries on Instagram or Facebook to not only stay updated but to get to know the brand and show their support of it. Companies can leverage this by collecting user-generated content, from five-star reviews to “foodstagram” photos, and highlighting their dedicated fans. With the power of social media, it’s easier than ever for restaurants to reach a wider audience and get people excited about their food.

2. More people are seeking food experiences.

Since people are spending significantly more time cooking at home, many are also seeking experiences around the food. Restaurants can seize this opportunity to not only share their food with their customers but also provide a unique educational or immersive component. New businesses can set themselves apart from the crowd by including information on the history of the dish, providing online cooking classes, or just taking a bit of extra time to plate their takeout dishes in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

3. Delivery, takeout, and dine-in apps open more opportunities.

Some restaurants have been unable to pivot from a traditional model amid the pandemic, often due to being stuck with too much space or debt. While these restaurants are struggling with the “old” way, competitors who have adapted their operations are in a much better position to thrive.

The start of 2020 saw a major uptick in delivery, takeout, and dine-in apps, and demand remains high today. Many restaurants set up shop on apps like Doordash and UberEats, while others established their own apps to make ordering and picking up food easier than ever. Some have even created delivery-only “ghost kitchens” to bring in revenue while reducing traditional space costs. New restaurants can seize any of these opportunities to venture into the market without spending as much on overhead fees.

4. Restaurants are safer than ever.

After facing the pandemic for over a year, consumers are growing more trusting of restaurants and their safety measures. Additionally, many are simply itching for a fine dining experience outside the home! Starting a restaurant at this time, while highlighting your specific safety protocols, will both spark interest and provide reassurance to new customers, making it more likely that they’ll visit your restaurant in the future.

5. Consumers are prioritizing sustainable eating.

While sustainability is not a new trend, the pandemic has accelerated the conversation around it. As such, an increasing number of consumers are considering what they are eating and how it was sourced. Restaurants that offer sustainable foods, including vegetarian/vegan options and sustainable meats and produce, are likely to see an uptick in sales over the next year. If this is something you’re interested in offering, you’re in luck!

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