The coronavirus pandemic has led to people controlling their inner cravings for restaurant food. About 87 per cent citizens do not want to visit a restaurant in the next 30 days due to the fear of catching the virus, according to community platform LocalCircles which conducted a survey to get a consumer pulse on how they would eat out or order from restaurants post the lockdown relaxations. The survey received over 24,000 responses. It also said about 61 per cent consumers are reluctant to spend on eating out. About 25 per cent citizens say they will order restaurant food once or more via food delivery apps in the next 30 days.
In the first question, citizens were asked once the lockdown is relaxed and restaurants are open, would they be visiting their favourite restaurant in the area or city for a meal in the
next 30 days. It was not surprising that 74 per cent respondents answered in a ‘no’ while only 20 per cent answered in a ‘yes’.
When asked what the primary reason was for them not wanting to visit their favourite restaurant in their city for a meal in the next 30 days, 38 per cent said they feared catching the virus from restaurant staff, other visitors or via food. About 12 per cent said they do not want to spend on eating out right now. Around 49 per cent consumers said both of these apply to them for not wanting to visit a restaurant.
An earlier LocalCircles survey showed that post the Covid-19 lockdown, people are more inclined to getting things delivered to their doorsteps, rather than going out to buy themselves. They did this to prevent themselves from getting infected.
When asked how they would be ordering restaurant food via food delivery apps in the next 30 days, 16 per cent consumers said they would order 1-2 times, 6 per cent said 3-4 times, and 3 per cent said more than 4 times. About 65 per cent said they will not order restaurant food for delivery, while 10 per cent respondents were unsure of what they would do.
In the recent relaxations, restaurants have only been allowed to operate delivery services but dine-in options are still prohibited across most parts of India. Since the lockdown began, the dine-in business of restaurant has been zero and food delivery orders from restaurants have seen orders plummet by almost 90 per cent.
The two major food delivery aggregators, Swiggy and Zomato have started delivering essentials to make up for some of the shortfalls in the restaurant delivery business. However, revenues are down by over 75 per cent for months of April and May for most players in the sector. Bengaluru-based unicorn Swiggy is laying off 1,100 or 14 per cent of its employees across grades and functions over the next few days, as Covid-19 continues to infect its food delivery and cloud kitchen business. This comes just a few days after Gurugram-based Zomato said it would let go of 13 per cent of its staff, affecting close to 520 employees.
According to the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India, almost 70 per cent hotels and restaurants in India might close down in the next 30 to 45 days due to the strict Government regulations and reduced consumer interest.
“What was a booming sector just about 2 months ago is now fighting for its survival,” said LocalCircles. It said the question, however, is, how can the aggregators as well as restaurants tweak their operating models to cut cost, deliver food with high standards of safety and still keep in touch with the consumers so that when things do improve, they are there to serve the pent up consumer demand.