Restaurant industry to re-hire one million people by 2021: Report

The food services industry will re-employ one million people by 2021 as it stages a recovery after the sector’s worst slump of 2020, a new report said.

The report, by restaurant table reservation services company Dineout, said 45% of young adults will make healthier food choices by 2021, restaurants are now more inclined towards owning consumer data and that 90% restaurants will adopt digital menus by 2021.

Dineout chief executive Ankit Mehrotra said: “Apart from re-employing about one million people as it emerges from its worst crisis ever, the restaurant industry is seeing a paradigm shift with food consumption preferences shifting to healthier meals, the rise of shared kitchen spaces, increasing digitisation in terms of menu, more take-aways and deliveries, and lowering dependence on third party aggregators.”

Dineout said in its report that 100% consumers will prefer contactless and digital payments. takeaway and delivery will grow exponentially by 15% and 30.5% respectively, and that cloud kitchens which have a current market share of 13% will increase to 30% in the coming year.

Another finding was the exponential rise of home chefs which are expected to rise 4X times by 2021.

“Digital ordering and payments have allowed us to work more efficiently with a reduced time spent by service teams on manual processes like order entries, order changes, billing, and settlements. Service teams are always on standby for help so that customers still feel a sense of hospitality in addition to the safety they feel with these new systems.” said Annie Bafna, owner at Nutcracker, Mumbai.

The restaurant industry has been among the worst impacted over the past seven months. Even after lockdowns were lifted, restaurants operated with curbs including early closures and restrictions on serving alcohol. The sector employed more than seven million people before Covid-19 hit.

According to data by industry body NRAI, over 30% restaurants and bars in the country have shut down permanently because of the pandemic-induced lockdown.