Full-service restaurants could take 5 years to recover from the pandemic: report

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It’s going to be a long time before restaurants are completely back to normal, according to a new report.

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While the restaurant industry as a whole is expected to recover from the coronavirus pandemic by 2023, the full-service sector may not bounce back until two years after that, Restaurant Business reported Thursday, citing data from Technomic.

According to the magazine, Technomic found that the restaurant industry’s financial recovery is expected to come from limited-service restaurants that have relied on takeout, drive-thru and delivery over the last several months.

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Even though it will be a while before the industry fully recovers, sales have been increasing and are expected to continue to improve next year, according to Restaurant Business.

Much of that improvement has come from restaurants using technology, the magazine reported.

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Per the outlet, Technomic principal Wade Hansen said that full-service restaurants especially have had to use technology to help them navigate takeout and delivery, even though “a large percentage of operators” aren’t familiar with an off-premise model.

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Once the restaurant industry does recover, it’s not going to look the same as it did before the pandemic, Technomic Managing Principal Joe Pawlak said, according to Restaurant Business.

“We’re going to see a different industry,” Pawlak noted. “But certainly one that will continue to thrive long-term.”

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“There’s going to be a reengineering of the whole marketplace,” he added.

According to Restaurant Business, restaurants will adjust “toward more off-premise focused and digitally-enhanced efforts.”

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Regardless of the changes, the pandemic will not be the death of the restaurant industry, Pawlak said, per the outlet.

“Restaurants will be back,” he added.

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