Are we seeing a decrease in restaurant spaces in fast food brands?

Over the past two years, amid rising Covid-19 cases and continued shortages of workers, some fast food restaurants have closed their dining rooms and planned never to reopen. While sit-in areas were closed, locations offered other ways to get food, whether through pickup, delivery and drive-thru. But as the pandemic continues to change the restaurant industry, whether it’s cutting staff, turning to delivery or investing in new business models like ghost kitchens, it begs the question. whether fast food chains still need dining rooms.

In some cases, the loss of indoor dining will be permanent as they invest heavily in changing the architecture of their restaurants. As few McDonalds have moved to drive-thru and they have remained a constant even after the post-pandemic mess. Meanwhile, few fast-food chains have turned to ghost kitchens, which are essentially windowless restaurants, because they’d rather deliver meals themselves than outsource them to third-party delivery companies and lose out. the Commission. And, for some restaurants, reopening dining rooms may be more hassle and expense than it’s worth.

Customers are looking for spaces to go out

But restaurants that are in malls or have playgrounds will likely continue to have sit-down dining, as they cater to kids, which is a big market. Kids would love to go get a nice meal or enjoy and take balloons. This is part of fast food operations. At the same time, a delivery restaurant limits the type of food that can be delivered.

But whatever the situation, the forecast of not having a food court for a fast food establishment is still not a valid proposition. As Reetesh Shukla, Business Leader of Charcoal Concepts, K Hospitality Corp, commented: “Customers are looking for spaces to get out of their homes and offices, and fast food restaurants with seating, where you can get food served quickly, easily and at a good value. cash prizes, provide a space where consumers can bring family or co-workers, and allow customers to experience the brand. “As we grow Joshh in the years to come, we will provide spaces where our customers can come and experience the brand and our quality promise, in person,” he said.

Do ghost kitchens replace the need to dine in?

Fast food restaurant owners know that running successful ghost kitchens takes careful planning, but it’s a risk that many chains seem willing to take. Following the coronavirus pandemic and the rise of third-party delivery apps, some fast food outlets are converting to these kitchens to meet off-site dining demands.

There is no storefront, dining room, or hospitality staff in a ghost kitchen. Instead, a team works solely to fulfill online orders that require delivery, space is rented to prepare food orders made through third-party apps. The adoption of ghost kitchens isn’t new, but it surely has new takers post-pandemic. But not everyone feels the same.

“In today’s changing world, there are many options like in-house dining, cloud cooking, etc. But the craze for restaurants and food spaces is something no one can replace. Fast food today goes beyond greasy burgers and fries. Millennials crave greasy burgers, impeccable espresso is concocted in record time by a blend of music, delicious food, pleasant surroundings and live performances,” commented Rohit Tandon, co-founder of Zoca Café.

India has a large market for catering establishments, and fast food cafes are turning heads with innovative ideas and expanded menus. Fast food cafes like ZOCA, YOLO (You Only Live Once) operated by Fraterniti Foods Private Limited, have already adapted as competitors in India. Fast food outlets are transforming into foodservice establishments with a variety of their own brands and offering a distinct dining experience from a stand-alone restaurant.

Can be eliminated abroad but not in India

The coffee industry in which Tim Hortons competes has been disrupted in recent years with the spread of drive-thru coffee shacks overseas. Dutch Bros, which went public last year, has exploded into the third-largest coffee chain with a seatless model. But when Tim Hortons decided to enter India, they were sure of the seating model and not the drive-thru model. Indian audiences and consumers compared to international consumers vary differently in terms of preferences.

Major fast food brands that rushed to open cloud kitchens and double down on their first virtual brands during the pandemic said they were focusing more on their restaurant business and prioritizing deliveries through existing stores. Sagar Daryani, co-founder and CEO of Wow! Momo, which had opened 19 self-contained cloud kitchens after the pandemic, said it would follow a more hybrid model, building stores that serve both dine-in and delivery. The Company operates three fast food brands. For several chains that have invested for years in pure-play restaurant formats, cloud kitchens were an alternative source of revenue during the pandemic, not a primary source.

Many people who did cloud kitchens as a means of survival are now seeing fewer orders or not looking to expand those kitchens and are back to expanding physical outlets.

And for the restaurant’s only readable substitute for fast food chains, there may be a drive-thru, which may not be a good idea given India’s demographics. A country like India will never be able to run a drive-thru restaurant in its crowded cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, etc. Due to urbanization, competitors in the fast food industry are increasing and it is almost impossible for a fast food brand to acquire a large enough space and operate a drive-in in an already crowded place.

Looking at the current scenario, in the future, franchises will have more choices, ranging from choosing between smaller restaurants with kiosks, to a full brick and mortar restaurant, and now on-site or in-store catering services. take away only. However, going hybrid will be the way forward for fast food brands.

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