The face of the pandemic will witness a reverse modern evolution post the lockdown. With the metropolitan cities of India having an average of 120 malls, the central government orders state to keep them closed until further notice. Lockdown 5.0 or better known as unlock 1.0 has begun and malls are expected to re-open post-June 8 but precautionary causes will prevent masses enter malls in large numbers. Perhaps, all the food joints in the malls are already either bankrupt facing a serious economic-financial crisis largely related to unemployment. Hence, restaurants are planning to move to the streets post-COVID-19.
The Food and Beverage Industry on the Pandemic
One of the largest Indian consumer segments, F&B (Food and beverage) are soon planning to shift from the malls to the streets. Leading retailers and companies depreciate this effect of the lockdown. A prominent switch took place in the early 2000s when prime food outlets decided to establish their branch in malls to attract more crowds at the same time. But due to COVID-19, the growth trajectory is on a downfall and this switch seems like the only wise option under such unforeseen circumstances.
The core reason to move from malls to streets is social distancing. The situation of the rising coronavirus cases does not approve malls to function in full force. Moreover, the situation is expected to come back normalcy only after a few more months. Nevertheless, restaurants cannot afford any more losses. Thus, moving to the streets is an apt option for now.
Following the social distancing protocols, street restaurants will function smoothly and people will prefer stand-alone street outlets with less crowd. As research suggests, fear of contracting the virus will prevail in the minds of the people for a long time. Hence, restaurants to move to streets sooner post the relaxation of the lockdown.
Contactless Deliveries During Lockdown
Though most of the restaurants have introduced contactless and safe home delivery, the profits seem to massively fall. The F&B industry faced a steep 20% fall in the first two weeks of the business post the nation-wide lockdown. The number seems to be increasing and state governments resist commenting on the revival of the overall mall functioning. Huge conglomerates of people are a serious threat while COVID-19 prevails in the country hence the authorities are redundant.
Mall Food Outlets Moving To The Streets
After dealing with economic collapse and lay-offs, restaurants are taking the decision to move to the streets because of fewer rental fares. It will be an easy get-through to rebuild the business post such distressing situations. However, plans for drive-through facilities can also improve people’s participation in buying things directly from street outlets. This will be an excellent option instead of a sit-down facility to avoid any surface contact and constant need for sanitizing.
Restaurants of the streets will open way before the ones in the mall. The shift will save the business from further losses. With low rents, drive through (in few locations), the reopening shall lay the foundation of redemption of the F&B industry.
Malls and Outlets To Work in Partnership
Moreover, the malls and stores may have to work in partnership, to make peace with already shattered bank balances. It is assumed that after lifting the lockdown the malls will receive only 30-40% of the actual footfall. As a result, the food courts of malls might deal with only 20-30% of consumers on a daily basis. The count still seems to scare many leading food chains. Hence, to increase more footfalls in the restaurants moving to the streets is an agreeable suggestion.
Cleanliness and hygiene will be of epitome importance to consumers as well as retailers. People will avoid any suspicious contact with any surface or person. Hence, all the restaurants will have to invest to maintain the hygiene protocols set by the government. All the employees of the restaurant will compulsorily wear masks and gloves.
Outlet Owner Insights
Rohit Aggarwal, director at Lite Bite Foods which runs Punjab Grill, Street Foods, and Zambar, said: “We will shut down stores in any mall where rentals are unaffordable.”
Malls, cinemas, and food outlets witnessed an unbelievable dip of 25% of the pre-lockdown revenue. Hence, business models with tweaked seating arrangements and layout will be highly appreciated by the public. Well, no company has to date taken any measures towards such provisions. However, the idea of this great historic transition is strongly proposed by the food and beverage sector.