3 ways the food and beverage industry can prepare for 2021

Discover the consumer trends that will shape the food and beverage industry next year and learn from Domino's Pizza and Joe & The Juice.

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that we need freshly baked sourdough, hair dye, and clever home storage solutions. We also need pizza and coffee. Domino’s Pizza’s order value rose by 22% during the initial lockdown period. And Uber Eats reported a 149% increase in coffee orders during the same period.

The habits that we’ve formed during lockdown periods are continuing to shape the way we interact with food and beverage (F&B) brands. Even in places where cafés and restaurants are open, many consumers remain wary. And, as long as working-from-home remains the norm, we’re less likely to pass our favorite café on a daily basis. Not surprisingly, consumer adoption of digital channels has accelerated.

For the food and beverage sector, this upheaval has turned things on their heads. Static brick and mortar brands reliant on footfall have taken a huge hit. Whereas businesses with an established online presence have fared better. But, regardless of your position, this year has been a head-spinner and 2021 comes with its own share of uncertainties.

To help you make sense of the new landscape that’s emerging from the ashes, we created a report which combines economic analysis with consumer research, and real-life insights. You can take a look at the report here. In the meantime, this article will walk you through three key takeaways from the report to ensure you’re ready for the coming year.

Be reassuring

As you might have discovered if you reopened for business in the summer, many consumers are still reluctant to head out to bars and restaurants. Data from our survey confirms it with 29% of global consumers worrying about person-to-person contact in restaurants. And 51% want businesses to use technology as a means of maintaining a safe distance. Payment terminals are also a big cause for concern for 54% who expect to pay using contactless methods to avoid touching anything.

51% of consumers want businesses to use technology as a means of maintaining a safe distance.

None of these concerns are good for anyone’s appetite. So what can you do?

Accept contactless payments

Contactless payments have come a long way from simply tapping your card on a terminal. Near field communication (NFC) technology also supports digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay™️. And, thanks to secure authentication methods (like passcodes, fingerprints, and facial recognition) they’re not restricted to standard contactless transaction limits.

Another way of reducing contact is through self-service kiosks. Leading Domino’s Pizza franchise, Daufood, has implemented these, as CTO Javier Pastor explained: “We’re installing kiosks in all stores for customers to place orders without going to the counter. We’ve had some great feedback especially now people want to keep their distance.”

Illustration of a hand surrounded by contactless payment methods

Support contactless delivery and collection

Like many food delivery brands, Domino’s Pizza saw a surge in delivery requests when the pandemic hit. And, in addition to delivering hot pizza fast, it had to ensure both driver and customer safety. Head of Marketing, Casper Mooyman explained:

“At the start of the pandemic, carry-out customers quickly became delivery customers. To ensure a safe distance is maintained, drivers place pizzas in front of the door, ring the bell, and then step back. We’ve also stopped cutting pizzas in store to avoid touching the food once it’s been cooked.”

Joe & The Juice took a digital approach to social distancing by using its pre-order app to facilitate contactless ordering and curbside pick-up. As a result, the chain remained open throughout lockdown. It also had the nice side effect that its app downloads soared. This, in turn, led to an increase in new customers, as VP of Strategy & Business Development Thomas Evald told us:

"We’ll see these digital channels prevail beyond the pandemic. They are safe and convenient. And convenience wins every time.”

Thomas Evald VP of Strategy & Business Development, Joe & The Juice

“Concerns over safety have accelerated the adoption of digital channels. And, once customers see how convenient and safe the app is, they stick with it. For example, once you’ve downloaded our pre-order app, you have your order history and your credit card details stored. So future orders are really easy. That’s why we’ll see these digital channels prevail beyond the pandemic. They are safe and convenient. And convenience wins every time.”

Be flexible

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Which explains why so many food and beverage businesses have displayed such creativity and ingenuity over the past months. For most, this meant embracing digital for at least some part of the customer journey. Even small-scale players have headed online, sharing menus and taking orders via Instagram or setting up local WhatsApp groups. Consequently, consumers are getting used to, and increasingly expect, these digital interactions. It gives them more flexibility, letting them order however they want. And now you’ve shown you can do it, there’s no going back. Our survey revealed that 73% feel that businesses should retain their multichannel offerings once the pandemic is over.

The Joe & The Juice app offers a new dimension to the experience for customers. They have the freedom to order from wherever suits them. And, since all payments are connected in the backend, they can collect loyalty points directly via their payment method. As Thomas said: “It’s important to give customers total flexibility. They can pre-order in-app, they can order in store, they can pay via the terminal or in app. It's really their choice."

73% feel that businesses should retain their multichannel offerings once the pandemic is over.

Illustration of person paying in-app in-store

Be centralized

Agility has never been so important. Now's the time to digitize your business, connect your channels, and have access to all your data in one place. As Thomas from Joe & The Juice said: “It’s critical to own your own data so you’re not dependent on other providers. With Adyen, for example, we get that data. Other providers have separate systems where you can see the data, but you can’t link it. That’s a problem for a lot of people. They have a system built from different parts and they can’t really see what they’re doing.”

Better customer insights

Joe & The Juice uses centralized payments data to build a 360-degree view of its customers. So, when a customer downloads the app and adds their payment method, all historic transaction data is automatically connected to the account. Even if they’re new to the app, the messaging is appropriate to a long-standing customer.

"By linking our app to the credit card terminal, customers get greater transparency of their purchases, messages, and rewards in the app,” said Thomas Evald, VP of Strategy & Business Development. “On the other hand, we gain a clearer understanding of who our customers are and how we can provide them with better service and products. That’s amazing for us.”

Better business insights

Daufood operates across several channels: Ecommerce, in-app, stores (which include self-service kiosks), and a call center. With so much potential for complexity, it’s a real game-changer to have a single view of everything in one place. As CTO, Javier Pastor said: “When you’re running hundreds of stores across different regions, a single payments partner makes reconciliation so much easier.”

"Unified commerce means we have a one-stop environment for franchisees to better understand what money they’ve made from which channels.”

Casper Mooyman Head of Marketing, Domino's Pizza

Domino’s Pizza has to find the right balance between a centralized overview and localized insights for its franchisees. It’s found unified reporting to be a powerful asset, as Casper explained: “We want to offer our franchisees the best tools to run their businesses. If you split out your online and in-store payments you have all these different systems and tools and reports from which the franchisee must collect the revenue per day, often all by themselves. Unified commerce means we have a one-stop environment for franchisees to better understand what money they’ve made from which channels.”

Illustration of the technology behind a payment

It’s not too late

A report by McKinsey claims that, in terms of innovation, we’ve jumped 10 years in the past few months. Which sounds about right. And, while it might be tempting to feel already left behind, you’re not alone if you’ve found yourself scrambling to roll out digitization plans in months rather than years. That said, the time to act is now. As Javier of Daufood said: “Quality and service times are critical and you need the right technology to support this. Many are trying to roll out projects that have been in the backlog for a long time and they now have to run. Digitization projects must be prioritized. Otherwise, you’ll have lost your slot. It’s always been important, but now more than ever. The window is closing. Ultimately, we must use this upheaval as an opportunity to accelerate the changes that will provide better experiences.” Casper from Domino’s Pizza agreed: “There is still time, but not long. Work fast to build these capabilities. It’s not too late but it will be soon.”

"It's not too late, but it will be soon."

Casper Mooyman Head of Marketing, Domino's Pizza

Read the report for the full story

To help you navigate these uncertain times and keep abreast of changing consumer trends, check out our latest research report. Explore insights from a survey of over 25,000 global consumers. Read first-hand accounts from leading retailers and food and beverage businesses. And learn how a unified commerce approach can help safeguard against future upheaval.

Read report

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