Survival of the Fittest: 79% of Chefs Observe that the Industry Needs to be More Creative
New survey commissioned by Upfield Professional reveals emerging trends among chefs and the restaurant industry
- 56% of chefs interviewed in the survey now consider outdoor dining as the new way forward
- 58% of chefs surveyed are confident that this 'new normal' will offer new opportunities in regards to different dining experiences, which can hopefully be capitalised on
- 76% of chefs surveyed have noticed and become aware of the impact that COVID-19 has had on dietary choices in the restaurant environment
- Half of chefs surveyed are now cooking more plant based dishes since the beginning of lockdown
In response to the changing landscape of the restaurant industry post-pandemic, Upfield Professional have commissioned a UK study which reveals new trends, as well as how chefs are feeling about the future of the industry.
On review of the survey results, chefs have become even more aware of ingredients, due to a growing health consciousness post-pandemic. Upfield Professional found that 76% of chefs surveyed have noticed and become aware of the impact that COVID-19 has had on dietary choices in the restaurant environment. This confirms that the link between what is on our plate, the air we breathe and the effective functioning of our immune systems is now more important than ever.
Although plant-based eating was progressively becoming more apparent on menus pre-COVID, the pandemic has supercharged this shift as 49% of chefs surveyed are now cooking more plant based dishes since the beginning of lockdown. Upfield Professional also found that 86% of chefs believe that COVID-19 and the changes to the restaurant business will have a significant impact on menus.
David Mulcahy - Culinary Ambassador (Food Development and Innovation) of Sodexo UK & Ireland states: "In order to be truly fit for the future and to meet the complex needs of our clients and customers from a multitude of sectors, we must ensure our chefs are fully signed up to providing a food experience that supports a better climate and is ultimately beneficial to mankind."
With the pandemic shocking the hospitality industry in ways we could have never imagined, 79% of chefs surveyed observe that the industry needs to be more creative in what it does to survive. Furthermore, 58% of chefs surveyed are confident that this 'new normal' will offer new opportunities in regards to different dining experiences, which can hopefully be capitalised on.
One of the biggest challenges facing the industry currently is that of compensating for reduced cover capacity. As capacities were cut by one third, restaurants have been forced to think outside the box. 56% of chefs interviewed in the survey now consider outdoor dining as the new way forward.
Whilst compensating for reduced cover capacity is one thing when open, during the height of lockdown with restaurants forced to close - many businesses were forced to shift online. 72% of chefs revealed that they have considered takeaway or delivery services as a result.
Rob Howell, Head Chef of Root in Bristol and author of Root cookbook, explained how his wife and Restaurant Manager has brought a massive amount to the business in these times, creating a whole new website and setting up a shop online, as well as putting all the systems in place to support the take away side of the business - and that is priceless.
Regardless of the negative impact of government-imposed restrictions to try and curb the virus spread, 77% of chefs surveyed believe that COVID has made them feel more flexible in terms of further businesses they may own or work at in the future.
In addition, this flexible thinking has inspired more creativity in regards to dining experiences. In the study, 40% of chefs are considering using private dining in the home as a potential revenue stream. 19% have also considered pop-ups and 26% have contemplated collaborating with other businesses to bring their creative ideas to life.