In 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the global economy. In the face of a prolonged pandemic, the restaurant and catering business was among the most affected segments of the consumer market.

Did every caterer manage to survive and do they have any chances for further growth? This is what we are going to discuss today.

What issues did the catering companies face during the lockdown?

The hit on the foodservice industry during the pandemic is one of the hardest. Multiple factors caused the closure of nearly 40% of restaurants and cafes. However, the most significant ones were:
  • Closing the indoor dining. Since the beginning of global restrictions, restaurants have only been operating as takeaways. Authors' restaurants and places that used to attract customers with their atmosphere have been most affected by the lockdowns.
  • Competition in the food delivery market has increased, the number of companies offering diet catering and food for delivery has grown, and also many people who used to order meals have started to cook at home.
  • Inflation and income decrease. Due to reduced working hours and massive layoffs, a lot of people lost their jobs or experienced a drop in their income. As a result, fewer people have been able to continue eating out or ordering food delivery.
  • Supply shortages were caused by the travelling restrictions and the inability to import exotic ingredients. Thus, the costs of preparing food went up significantly, but the variety of meals decreased.
  • Nearly every catering company started to make losses, especially the ones that aimed their services primarily at the business customer. These are not only office diners but also companies specializing in servicing conferences, meetings, and corporate events. As a result of the transition to remote working, their market shrunk almost to zero.
The pandemic has shown how unstable the food industry is when it comes to crisis situations. On the one hand, it caused massive closures of thousands of restaurants. However, on the other hand, it gave a chance to reboot the market and cleared the way for the new enthusiasts and young entrepreneurs.

New opportunities in the food industry

The recent surveys show that 37% of the population have used boxed catering at least once, and 20% of consumers order it regularly. Boxed diets have been growing for several years already. The confinement of people to their homes during the pandemic and the transition of many employees to a remote working model has caused a veritable explosion of interest in such an offer and an increase in the value of the market.

The main reasons for wanting to use diet catering are healthier eating, weight loss, and lack of time to cook. Indeed we can notice the change in eating habits. If 10 years ago pizza was atop one food for delivery, then nowadays the focus shifted to vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free meals.

Therefore, it is important that the restaurants become flexible and enrich their menus with different food options for every taste. Modern eating habits require a modern gastronomic approach.