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Restaurants reimagining operations to mitigate COVID-19 impact, says Zomato report

Zomato has delivered seven crore food orders since lockdown started on March 25, the online restaurant guide and food ordering platform added. (File image)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the restaurant industry but despite the tough macroeconomic environment, the restaurants are reimagining their operations rapidly to accommodate new social engagement constructs, according to a report by food ordering platform Zomato said.

Out of the two key components of the restaurant industry — delivery, and dining out — food delivery in India has largely recovered from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, it added.

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“Recovery trends are strong and we estimate the industry to hit pre-COVID-19 levels of business in the next 2-3 months,” Zomato said on Wednesday in the report titled ‘Indian Restaurant Industry- Mid COVID-19 Report’.

Zomato has delivered seven crore food orders since lockdown started on March 25, the online restaurant guide and food ordering platform added.

“We estimate that between other food aggregators and direct restaurant channels, Indians have ordered 20 crore times since the lockdown. There have bee zero reported cases of COVID-19 transmission due to food delivery,” Zomato said.

The number of restaurants offering food delivery are at 70 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels. Out of this, about five per cent restaurants did not offer food delivery services before COVID-19. Most of these are dining out-centric places, which have shown agility to pivot to food delivery, it added.

However, the other component of the restaurant industry — dining out — in India is yet to bounce back and is operating at 8-10 per cent of the pre-COVID-19 levels, the report said.

“Slump in the industry is largely driven by markets being in lockdown, consumers not stepping out due to fear of transmission and restaurants not opening up, even if the city is not in lockdown,” it added.

Even in cities where restrictions have been lifted, only 17 per cent dining out restaurants are open for business at the moment which are also running at low capacity, the report said.

“Out of the 83 per cent restaurants that are not open for business, 10 per cent restaurants have already shut down permanently and we anticipate an additional 30 per cent restaurants to not reopen at all,” it added.

Remaining 43 per cent are closed right now but likely to open, as the situation becomes better, the report said.

Safety and hygiene have now become a permanent addition to the customer’s decision-making model, it added.

Despite the tough situation due to the impact of the pandemic, it is heartening to see restaurants reimagining operations rapidly to meet the challenges, the report said.

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