Retail, Restaurants Forever Changed Due To Pandemic

The vast majority of C-level executives in retail and restaurants companies (83%) believe that shopping and dining will never return to pre-pandemic models, according to a study.

As retail and restaurant chains develop their reopening strategies, executives may use this opportunity to cull unprofitable locations. Almost two-thirds (65%) of retailer and restaurant chains plan to reopen all their locations, 25% plan to open a portion of their locations and 10% don’t plan to return to the brick and mortar channel at all, per Cambridge Retail Advisors. 

The company fielded an online COVID-19 Survey to primarily C-level executives at retail and restaurant organizations.

Online sales have long been predicted to eventually level off to around 30%-40% of total sales (up from 10%-15% in 2019). The current pandemic has accelerated the curve and taken perhaps three to five years out of the digital evolution, according to the report.



Fifty-nine percent of companies reported moderate to complete disruption of their supply chain.

The disruption has increased retailers and restaurants to focus on developing an agile approach to the global supply chain, creating total visibility of enterprise inventory availability and exploring micro-fulfillment strategies, says Hunter Harris, managing partner at Cambridge Retail Advisors. 

More than half (56%) feel that the pandemic will permanently change the way people shop and most consumers will move exclusively to BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) or BOPAC (buy online, pick up at curbside) shopping, says Marty Whitmore, managing partner at Cambridge Retail Advisors.

“Retail and restaurant companies have quickly adapted their customer journeys and processes to respond to new expectations and safety requirements,” Whitmore says in a release. “Enhancing online and omni-channel capabilities has been an imperative as consumers have rapidly shifted brick and mortar shopping to low contact transactions.”

Retail and restaurant organizations that didn’t previously offer BOPIS and BOPAC have quickly implemented these services to retain customers and maximize revenues, he adds.

The top priorities identified by C-level retail and restaurant executives include employee compensation and safety (86%), implanting BOPIS improvement (67%) and shifting from working in an office to working at home (62%).

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