Restaurant Hospitality is launching a new feature called Five Things spotlighting industry news that impacts independent restaurant operators. Here are five things you might have missed for the week of Jan. 14:
- NRA: Restaurant recovery will be hard, but restaurants will emerge stronger
The National Restaurant Association’s Research and Knowledge group’s senior vice president Hudson Riehle told attendees of the annual ICR conference that industrywide sales in 2020 are now projected to be $659 billion, down by 27% from the $899 billion anticipated at the beginning of last year. But the pent-up demand from consumers surveyed by the trade group shows that consumers are anxious and ready to eat out when restaurants reopen.
- Indoor dining will temporarily resume for some New York state restaurants
Erie County courts in upstate New York issued a temporary ruling on Thursday allowing all restaurants in the state-named “Orange Zone” to operate under “Yellow Zone” restrictions after a handful of Erie County restaurants sued New York state over indoor dining closures. A permanent decision from the court is expected next week.
- Chef Daniel Boulud launches virtual cooking classes
Boulud’s group, Dinex Group, announced Thursday that the world-famous chef would be hosting virtual cooking classes on classic French cuisine every Thursday from Jan. 14 through Feb. 4. The tickets are $200 each and a portion of the proceeds will go to Citymeals on Wheels.
- NRA releases a list of trends that carried restaurants through 2020
The report from the National Restaurant Association polled 6,000 operators and 1,000 consumers to see what trends helped restaurants (think grocery delivery, meal kits, emphasis on off-premise) and what consumers gravitated towards in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. Also noted are the top 10 food items at both limited-service and full-service restaurants according to operators themselves.
- Independent operators should embrace QSR as full-service becomes impossible during COVID
During the pandemic, hospitality became difficult and even impossible at restaurants in the traditional sense. Jim Sullivan outlines the arguments for both full- and limited-service in a post-COVID world, ultimately deciding that QSR pays off financially more than full-service might. Besides, hospitality now can mean efficiency of an app or loyalty program rather than tableside service. Plus, indies are already getting into the quick-service segment.