The last two years have seen the hospitality industry struggle with lockdowns, staff shortages, and the rising costs of ingredients. Food delivery services like UberEats, JustEat, Deliveroo, and others have helped keep many of these businesses afloat as people chose to order delivery when they could not eat out, but as the world reopens this year how critical will food delivery services be in 2022?
A variety of sectors saw ongoing changes to their business accelerate due to Covid-19, and the food and hospitality industries were perhaps most acutely affected. Lockdowns saw restaurant kitchens shift to deliveries-only
Deliveries to your door
One of the biggest changes to online delivery over the last two years was all restaurants and food producers going online. You have been able to order pizza and curry deliveries for decades, but fine dining restaurants that had previously distanced themselves from such platforms suddenly needed to join up. And where these restaurants went, foodies followed. Food delivery grew by £3.7bn in 2020 to reach £11.4bn, double its 2015 value, as people shifted their eating habits online in 2020, and the trend continued in 2021.
When not in lockdown, pubs and restaurants shifted to online ordering systems to reduce social contacts between staff and clientele. Table and bar service has now resumed in many places, but the efficiency of online and app-based ordering means that in many establishments the platforms are here to stay.
Whilst many restaurants moved to offering deliveries, others started offering meal kits with companies like Indulge Dining offering fine dining delivered to your door. Not all restaurant foods work well when packaged up for delivery, with many more precise dishes losing their shape, structure or crunch in the time it takes for the food to go from the kitchen to your door, so for those that love a particular dish from their favourite restaurant meal kits offer a way to get those same flavours at home.
Many people enjoy just cooking these special meals themselves at home, but many restaurants combined meal kits with virtual cookalong experiences, so food lovers could cook alongside and learn directly from the chefs that designed the dish. And these meal kit experiences are likely to be popular well into the future, with people able to eat food like that found in their favourite restaurants even if they no longer live in the same city.
All food delivered
It was not just restaurants that shifted to deliveries for their food as lockdowns took effect. Small boutique bakers, patisseries, coffee roasters, and others all needed to shift to online ordering and deliveries as the orders for their produce from cafes and elsewhere dried up. Crosstown are pioneer in online doughnut delivery, Cutter & Squidge led the way with brownies, Rave Coffee and Pact lead the market in coffee, and all of them saw business boom in lockdown. And once you have received fresh food goodies in the post, it is not something you will forget.