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Building Back Better – How The French Restaurant Industry Needs To Recover From Pandemic

The restaurant industry is a cultural cornerstone of France and a major part of the country’s identity and, as a result, the coronavirus pandemic caused significant disruption to businesses – with one region reporting an 86% reduction in revenue in 2020.

And while patrons are now able to dine out and live without travel and mask restrictions, the effects of the pandemic on restaurants around the country are still being felt. France’s restaurant industry – worth 57bn Euros – remains the best in Europe, but after an encouraging return to pre-pandemic prosperity, there may be difficult days ahead as that growth is expected to slow.

With that in mind French businesses must work smarter to maximise their returns.

Electrix, the supplier of quality goulottes métalliques, examines the precautions restaurants in France need to be taking as they continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Understand your supply chain

The pandemic naturally affected supply chains, leading to rising prices and panic hoarding by the public. The flour and oil prices shooting up by 50% compared to a year prior is a scary prospect for the restaurant industry. Being essentials, their cost will likely affect wholesaler purchases.

Knowing where your supply of ingredients comes from is a crucial precaution to avoid any possible surprises when putting together your menu in future. If a lot of it comes from wholesalers, sourcing from local producers is a great solution as it cuts out the middleman and the blockages it brings.

Provide extra safety measures

Throughout the pandemic, emphasis was placed on personal hygiene to keep ourselves safe. Masks and handwashing were the top priority to prevent the spread, and when restaurants were allowed to reopen, they too had to take measures to keep the public safe. This came in the form of socially-distanced seating plans and screens between tables, as well as staff taking regular tests at home to confirm their health.

While it might be easy to revert to how things were done before the outbreak, not every practice needs to go. In fact, hygiene should be the key element prioritised inside the kitchen and out as well. Your staff and customers want to know that your restaurant is taking every precaution to keep them safe.

Cleanliness also falls to your kitchen and restaurant itself. Reopening means making sure that your workstations for chefs and those interacting directly with the menu items are free from any possible contaminates. It could also be beneficial to have your kitchen staff wearing masks while they work, as we’ve seen the positive benefits of preventing spreading with them in public. Applying them to a setting as intimate and close as food prep could build a strong foundation for the future.

Revitalise your marketing strategy

It’s fair to say that the marketing landscape is a different proposition post pandemic, and the industry has had to recover in its own way, especially when it comes to publicising restaurants.

As a result, extra care must be taken to strengthen your marketing for your establishment. Whether that’s through social media presence or more traditional advertising, you want customers both old and new to know that you’re open and ready to serve them. Producing a different approach to advertising can help you to stand out. A recovering industry means more competition, so it will be important to put creativity in focus to show potential customers what you offer.

Consider delivery

When faced with closed dining rooms, many French restaurateurs – like everyone else around the world – began to provide a delivery service so that patrons could enjoy restaurant-standard food in the comfort – and safety – of their own homes.

While many restaurants no longer offer this service now that restrictions have ended, it is a lucrative market which French businesses are yet to fully take advantage of. Looking into a way to develop a takeaway offering without compromising the restaurant quality is a smart way to diversify going forward.

The COVID-19 pandemic showed how unprepared the country was for a national lockdown. The unpredictable nature of the situation meant that there were no set practices to follow. But, after three years of living with the virus among us, we have the experience we can take and grow from. These precautions will help not only build back our restaurants but prepare for any unforeseen events that could shut their doors.