Is Disruption About To Reshape the Restaurant Industry?


Is disruption about to reshape the restaurant industry? 

Firstly, let’s understand what we mean by “disruption”. It’s not simply doing it better, it’s not doing new things, it’s doing and making things that make the old way obsolete.

Mr D and Uber have not disrupted the delivery service, they have made it so much better and so much easier to access. Andiccio24 have not disrupted the pizza market; they have found an alternative way to serving pizza that people are clearly loving.

The question on everyone’s mind

The question on everyone’s mind is “Is disruption about to reshape the Restaurant Industry?” Is something about to be hatched that will make restaurants as we know them obsolete?

For a better understanding, let’s start by exploring the major disruptors we have all come to embrace.

Uber has changed the face of the taxi industry forever. They didn’t just offer a better taxi service, they came up with something so appealing, so innovative, so easy to use that literally millions of people who had never dreamed of climbing into a taxi (I am referring to the SA market and not the US or UK where most people are familiar with cabs) suddenly find themselves Ubering everywhere.

It would be interesting to know if metered taxis have actually taken a dive or if they are just angry at the inaccessibility of the new market. Undoubtedly there have been casualties, as Mozzies Cabs in Durban have shut their doors.

The next is Airbnb, don’t own a single room yet account for more booking than anyone could ever imagine. Have hotels taken a sudden hit? Guesthouses? Most have simply joined Airbnb and allowed them to fill their rooms for them.

Related: The Effects of Minimum Wages in the Foodservice Industry

How does disruption take root?

The taxi industry has taken a hit because they expected customers to use an antiquated booking system, climb into dirty cars, never know what their bill was going to be until they actually arrived, and of course, risk getting into a taxi that was only pretending to be licensed.

Customers turned to Airbnb when they became frustrated at limited choice and perceived inflated prices.

They shop online when a visit to the store has become such an unpleasant experience that they are more comfortable in front of their screens.

They read their news online because they are tired of day old news and more adverts than journalism. I am sure you are noticing the pattern…

When are industries ripe for disruption?

Industries are ripe for disruption when customer dissatisfaction is climbing.

Now a visit to one of Facebook’s notorious restaurant bitching pages may have you believing that the industry is ripe for disruption, however, if you do the math, you will quickly realise that on the whole the industry is serving thousands upon thousands of satisfied customers for each complaint that makes it online.

What about the restaurant industry?

Perhaps if there is to be a disruption in the restaurant industry it should come from within and not from outside.

Perhaps we as an industry should demand a fairer deal in the retail letting space, better support from our suppliers whose products we sell on their behalf and certainly a better shake from government as the industry remains one of the few places someone with no experience and no qualification can still get an opportunity to work, to earn and to learn.

Don’t sit back and wait, look at your own operations and see what areas you “disrupt” in your own business and let’s make sure we don’t go the way of the taxi industry and the dinosaurs.

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