A renowned entrepreneur with strong business acumen, Vivek is the co-founder of India’s largest table reservation platform. With over 12 years of experience, he has positioned Dineout as a premier platform in India and expanded its reach to international markets. Currently, he is also focusing on dineout and its B2B product inresto’s expansion overseas. In 2012, Vivek co-founded dineout with his friends Ankit, Sahil & Nikhil and established it as a leading table reservation platform in India. After a successful round of angel investment, Dineout was acquired by Times Internet Limited in 2014. He loves watching movies, especially political dramas, and has a knack for penning down some deep-spirited verses.
Uncertainties are a part of life and any business. One cannot control what comes on the way but can strategically deal with them. It is no news that the restaurant industry was severely hit in the gut by the pandemic. One of the largest in the service sector, India’s food services industry contributes to around 3% of its GDP and is the largest employer with over 73 lakh people on its payrolls. An industry that thrives on social gatherings had to close doors to ensure social distancing for the health and safety of its users.
As the economy and discretionary spending were impacted daily, restaurants had been ordered shut during the nationwide lockdown. Therefore, the direct implications on the F&B industry were prominent.
The COVID 19 pandemic had put the FoodTech industry to the test like never before. This time around, FoodTech was not just about bettering the operations of the foodservice industry but was more about running the basic operations to earn the daily bread & butter. As a result, technology that was once ‘good-to-have has now become a must-have.’
Direct Ordering became the Holy Grail for Restaurant Businesses
During the pandemic, many businesses inevitably had to cut down on their overhead expenses. A significant chunk of these expenses was going into aggregator commissions. With restaurants relying solely on the delivery & takeaway model during the second wave, close to 20-25% is levied as a commission fee by the aggregators. inresto helped restaurants own their website to generate direct orders with a seamless UI & UX based microsite that allows restaurateurs to modify their menu at any point in time. We are constantly working towards upgrading our technology and products, which are user-friendly and fit their bill. Supplementing the demand for own ordering platforms, the need and adoption for innovative POS systems which can facilitate multiple orders from one platform also started growing.
Strengthening the industry of Online Ordering
As per Statista, the number of users of online food ordering increased from 539 million in 2019 to 704.7 million in 2020. Customers shifted towards online ordering around the third quarter of 2020. Having meals delivered to their doorsteps via trusted, safe, and hygienic sources was the only ask. The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) has also advised restaurants to own their website to facilitate delivery & takeaway orders instead of relying on aggregators and paying hefty commissions. At this point, channels like inresto online order started to fill the gap between demand. These efforts by the platform proved to be a comfortable and reliable option for the industry and the customers.
Customer Safety is now an added layer of dining experience
According to research, online ordering volumes have grown month-on-month and the market has reached a value of US$ 4.35 Billion in 2020. However, this growth also translates to the fact that online ordering is not a mere convenience anymore, but a necessity.
Due to COVID-19, the main focus is customer safety and ensuring food hygiene. Using tech platforms has become an industry norm to check and communicate the staff and riders’ temperature. This reassures the end customer that the food is being prepared and handled by individuals who are well in health. Even post the lockdown, restaurants ensure the use of tech products like QR-based digital menu, digital valet, digital feedback, and payment. A 360-degree restaurant tech solution provider like inresto is helping restaurants with these seamless and easy-to-use products.
Boon in Disguise: Digital Marketing to attract more customers
The food service industry has also realized the significance of digital marketing for driving the right amount of traffic to their platforms. More traffic translates to more orders which ultimately leads to more revenue for the restaurant businesses. Therefore, a robust marketing strategy is vital to maintaining and increasing the order volume, including professional photo and video shoots, paid marketing, and expert SEM. inresto marketing solutions take care of this aspect of business operations and ensure that the right traffic is driven to the platforms and a significant boost in customer repeat rate.
Technology that is shaping the industry
The world now prefers the contactless way of functioning, where physical contact is being pushed down to as minimal as possible, and it’s only fair as the easiest way to stop the virus spread is by reducing contact. Therefore, making relevant changes to each step of the dining experience was only inevitable. As a result, QR-based ordering, digital payments, and touch-less delivery have now become sacrosanct in the diner’s journey.
- QR-based ordering: QR code-based digital ordering platforms have become the new norm and are indeed making it more convenient for the customer and the staff; by reducing contact and hassle-free automation while reducing human errors.
- Contactless/Touchless delivery: The customers ensure a contactless delivery for their food by just tapping on a button on the ordering platform that says- <Make it a contactless delivery>. This gives the delivery guy a specific instruction to safely leave the order at the doorstep without exchanging a hand-contact with the customer.
- Digital payments: Thanks to the technological evolution in the last decade, people have started using digital payment platforms during transactions. Now with the pandemic and the need to avoid physical contact, the usage of digital payment platforms has only gotten sacrosanct and more common. On top of that, the rise in online ordering platforms (both delivery and dine-in) has given more space to contactless payment platforms. Customers and businesses are both relying more on contactless payment methods.
To make restaurants a safe harbour for diners, inresto launched India’s first Contactless Dining suite for restaurants with digital menus, QR-based ordering, digital payment, feedback & more. Through our B2B product inresto, we helped 12,000+ restaurants go contactless. We also extended the Contactless Suite to Malls, Hotels, Airports, Alcohol stores, Theatres, among others.
The post-pandemic world is predominantly technology-driven, and technology has only helped the restaurant industry continue its operations while instilling that trust in the customers. The food industry is constantly evolving and can never go out of vogue. The main essence of the industry is to offer a safe & exciting experience to the customers, and it will continue to do so in the future as well.