April 2, 2020

Marketing Professor Projects Pandemic Will Fortify Restaurants that Evolve

PBA News

The monumental shift that the new coronavirus has caused in the restaurant industry will bring lasting change for the better, says Dr. Lawrence Burgee.

Companies – especially small businesses with tight resources – are being forced to innovate to survive and to protect the jobs of their valued employees. Those changes will make them more resilient in the long run, says Burgee, a marketing professor.

On Thursday, April 2, executives from three, high-profile food brands will join a Titus Center for Franchising webinar to share how they’re pivoting their business models in response to the crisis. You can watch it here starting at 1 p.m.

Burgee, who teaches a digital marketing course, notes that few restaurants offered a streamlined ordering process via apps or websites prior to the crisis.

Burgee anticipates that every restaurant that survives the crisis will develop a pandemic contingency plan and periodically review it. Florida restaurants are well-positioned to do so due to hurricane contingency plans.

Pandemic contingencies may include “Plan B cooking facilities” that allow the owner or chef to cook from home and deliver the order directly to the customer. The high quality food and service are what matter – not where the food is prepared, Burgee says. Cooking from home is a well-established and thriving business model in other parts of the world, says Burgee, who also teaches international marketing and has encountered cook-from-home businesses in Ireland, Scotland, France and Poland.

In the future, drones and driverless delivery vehicles will create safe, fast and efficient distribution methods that ensure operations through challenging times, Burgee says.

Strong and determined businesses will survive and then thrive after this adjustment period, Burgee says. The adaptations will fortify them for the future – similar to how new and renovated homes in Florida have better hurricane protection because of past hurricanes.

“There are innovations and improvements that come after every major economic shock, and the restaurant industry will learn and adapt accordingly,” says Burgee.

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