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Editor’s Note As we approach the end of the year, there are some positive notes to offset some of the beating we’ve all taken during the COVID-19 pandemic. First, many diligent and flexible restaurant operators and the purveyors that service them can be thankful that they have survived 2020, and become stronger for it. Second, it looks like wide vaccine distribution in the first half of 2021 may start abating sickness and business disruption. Some primary challenges of restaurant operators are to recover business and regain the trust of customers willing to order to-go and/ or dine out at their establishments. Evidence from trend-tracking firm Datassential shows consumers hunkering down for winter, and potentially avoiding dining out as we enter the colder months. If that’s the case, a dual strategy of off-premises and dine-in is critical to restaurant survival. While multi-unit operators have been resilient, there are still numerous examples of permanent restaurant closures across segments. In a letter in November, the National Restaurant Association urged the National Governors Association to put forward an updated approach to restrictions. Newer data on COVID shows that restaurants are not the source of super-spreader events. Given the numerous challenges faced by restaurants trying to survive in this environment, only well-considered restrictions will help. In this issue, we explore trends that can equip restaurant operators for 2021. Page 23 features food and menu shifts that are likely to attract more diners, particularly as we enter the winter season. We also look at how technology can elevate restaurants’ ability to survive the long winter and spring, and then thrive after there is a return to some normalcy—perhaps by late spring or early summer.

Some primary challenges of restaurant operators are to recover business and regain the trust of customers willing to order to-go and/or dine out at their establishments.

The takeout window becomes a popular feature of restaurant design. Photo by Starbucks.

In the meantime, we see restaurant chains harnessing menu innovation and digital initiatives to maintain and grow their businesses during the health crisis. Wendy’s, Chipotle, Papa John’s and Panera Bread are just some of the chains that are generating success through reinvention, and, more poignantly, through doubling down on business fundamentals that every chain and multi-unit operator should consider. We are very glad to announce that after some delays, most of our Restaurant C-Suite Magazine content will move to video and web-conference formats in 2021. Modifying our news in this manner provides a way for our readers and subscribers to digest our content more easily and in less time. Another goal is to recruit a

RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 4

more robust and expansive list of contributors, with expert opinions and diverse perspectives on the industry. I’m happy to report that, thanks to your continued interest, feedback, and support, our monthly readership has quadrupled in 2020. We are extremely thankful, and offer you our continued commitment to support the restaurant industry with information services, consulting and our Creative Custom Content Studio. Sincerely,

Rick Zambrano Executive Editor Eatery Pulse Media

Profile for Eatery Pulse Media

Restaurant C-Suite Trends Issue | Winter 2021  

As we approach the end of the year, there are some positive notes to offset some of the beating we’ve all taken during the COVID-19 pandemic...

Restaurant C-Suite Trends Issue | Winter 2021  

As we approach the end of the year, there are some positive notes to offset some of the beating we’ve all taken during the COVID-19 pandemic...