The founder of The Athenian – which was named as Deliveroo’s restaurant of the year for 2020 – has described how dark kitchens provided a lifeline to his business during the pandemic.
Tim Vasilakis said his Greek restaurant operation was forced to implement a shift in strategy once the significance of the first lockdown last year became clear.
“When lockdown was first announced in March, we had to adapt and change our business model. Overnight we turned into an online-only restaurant,” he explained.
“In the months since, we used all of our resources to expand into Editions kitchens, as a safe way to continue trading through volatile conditions. We launched ‘alone zones’ in our kitchens to minimise movement and contact between our staff, as well as offering Deliveroo voucher codes for our team to order food at home.”
Mr Vasilakis was speaking as Deliveroo published a report to help restaurants understand how to adapt their businesses to meet growing demand for food delivery.
The report – called ‘Share of Stomach’ – looks at the changing consumer tastes in 2020 to help small and independent restaurants reach new customers.
It includes expert insights into the changing tastes and habits of consumers in 2020, and reveals that more than 80% of customers are set to order delivery more often or the same than they did before the pandemic.
It reveals not only the consumer trends during the past year, but also looks ahead to ordering habits post pandemic.
The research suggests that not only have many people tried food delivery for the first time during the pandemic, but that their love for their favourite foods will remain after the pandemic.
More than eight in 10 customers (85%) say they will order delivery more often or the same than they did before the pandemic
Many people have turned to food delivery for the first time – nearly 20% of respondents had ordered for the first time in December 2020
The pandemic has not only changed how often consumers order food delivery, but why. Many customers are ordering food as something to ‘look forward to’, whilst the need for the ‘hangover order’ to cure a hangover has fallen at a time that vegan orders have soared.
Vegan orders have shot up 163% during 2020, while healthy grocery orders, such as eggs, avocado, semi-skimmed milk and lettuce, have consistently remained the top orders from grocery partners during the pandemic.
Mr Vasilakis added: “Deliveroo has been a lifeline during the pandemic and we are delighted to support this timely report and support other restaurant partners with new ways to adapt and innovate to ensure they are reaching as many customers as possible.”
Key cuisine findings
Deliveroo has identified the definitive tastes of Brits across the country and their takeaway habits:
– Burgers are the top choice for young men in the Midlands
– Pizza is the top choice for young women in the Midlands
– Chinese is the favourite for families in the South East
– Fried Chicken is the favourite for families in the South West
Overall, the top cuisine choices in the past year are American (pizza and burgers), Italian, Japanese, Indian, Thai.