Since March, more than 1,000 NYC restaurants have closed because of COVID-19.
More precisely, the reason was our anxiety.
McKinsey suggests that full service restaurants will need a new economic model. Explaining why, they start with a survey taken during June. More than 80 percent of the respondents said they experience medium to high anxiety at quick service and casual dine-in restaurants:
Next, McKinsey identified when we felt the most anxiety. Asked if contact with customers or employees was unsettling, respondents said it was the other diners that made them uncomfortable. People were also worried about the shared surfaces they had to touch.
McKinsey summarized our anxiety categories in the following graphic. The black dots, indicating high anxiety, relate to our fellow diners:
So yes, being seated, eating, and using the amenities are what we do when we eat out. And yet, those are the activities about which we are most worried. You can see why restaurant owners have to do some rethinking.
These are some of the solutions:
Do note that these remedies require no reinvention. Instead, all can be inserted within a traditional restaurant model. However, as McKinsey suggests, a new business model could be the real solution.
Could it include this kind of BYOB?
Our Bottom Line: Creative Destruction
Sometimes an innovation creates obsolescence. The Model T Ford eliminated the need for buggy whips. As computers multiplied, typewriters disappeared.
Called creative destruction, the process through which the new replaces the old is painful. As industries evaporate, jobs are eliminated. Traditional skills become outdated.
We can ask if the restaurant industry will undergo creative destruction. Or, in a year or two, will the old model resurface?
My sources and more: McKinsey has always been a handy source for understanding consumer behavior. Happily, they took a close look at our restaurant anxiety. Then, Eater’s look at NYC complemented their data.