As of April, the 2nd 2020, the number of people suffering from coronavirus stands at 930,000 and counting. As the number rushed close to a million, the impact this has had on the global economy could be worse than anything we have seen for decades. As stricter social distancing measures for public venues and social activities are introduced by governments around the world to reduce the risk of further local transmission of the COVID-19, restaurants are forced to reduce their in-dining areas or stop operations altogether.
In India, Maharashtra leads the number of COVID-19 cases. It is also the state with the greatest number of migrant workers in both white- and blue-collar jobs, and home to a large number of students coming from all over the country. Almost all of them are perfect target groups for cities growing F&B industry. Cities like Pune, Mumbai are the centre of Maharashtra’s growth and sadly at the center of COVID-19 outbreak.
When the lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Modi on 24th March 2020, one of the biggest impacts was faced by the F&B industry as most of them had to shut down their businesses abruptly. Later on, the government allowed only home delivery restaurants to operate however most of the bars and pubs remain close. F&B industry operates the largest number of people after agriculture in India and this lockdown is only going to get worse. Most businesses across the globe have been forced to adopt flexible work policies as people work from home, this might turn into an opportunity for the food and beverage industry to radically transform their way of operating and future proof their businesses.
Technology like artificial intelligence which is traditionally used in operations in restaurants has many more applications that can help the industry. AI is expensive and its implementation can take a lot of time and course corrections but once perfected, it can turn into a real game-changer for the industry. For example, As the demand for takeout and home deliveries is increasing, AI can help F&B brands plan better and discover when, where and what people are looking for. This would help the food and delivery services streamline operations and maximise efficiencies in the face of limited resources. Its not as if this technology does not exist, There are companies in the west who provide AI solutions like this and Kitchens who have done wonders to their business by using behavioral data capabilities and pattern analysis to further their businesses.
This pandemic will surely cause a lot of damage to the industry and we may or may not agree with one solution suggested above, however, future-proofing is the only solution to save the F&B industry.

All, Franchising & Operations Management, Marketing & Advertising

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