July 27, 2020
Living in a COVID-19 pandemic world, there is no doubt that our regular lives have drastically changed. One aspect being how we experience eating. Dining-in has now become a thing of the past as delivery and take-out options surge. But, how does this affect the broader restaurant industry and how are food establishments adapting? In Hamilton Lane’s first “In the Know: Changing the Ways We Eat” series, Erik Hirsch, Vice-Chairman & Head of Strategic Initiatives of Hamilton Lane, interviewed Paul Brown, CEO & Co-Founder of Inspire Brands, and Neal Aronson, CEO of Roark Capital.
See below for some key takeaways as the panel talked through the differences of a pre- and post-pandemic industry and how Inspire Brands is adapting to the new normal.
- Pre-COVID, 50% of all food consumption in the United States was out-of-home. When the pandemic ramped up, people initially felt that it was exciting to cook. However, as Neal Aronson describes, “People have an emotional connection to food and love variety, convenience, and having people cooking for us.” In the last 10 years, restaurant growth doubled. It is believed that many of those will not be able to survive in a post-COVID world due to low supply. Neal Aronson describes that there will be “winners and losers” and the best chains that can adapt will win.
- The restaurant industry is moving to become more focused on utilizing data analytics to drive business decisions. Monitoring COVID-19 analytical trends is how managers base decisions on when to open dining rooms, how to reallocate labor efforts and maximize potential return.