A 46% drop in restaurant visits – worldwide, far fewer people went out to eat in September 2020 than they did in February, before the coronavirus. Temporary closures and the loss of business and reservations are putting serious pressure on the hospitality industry. In addition, rigorous hygiene and social distancing measures still overshadow every trip to the local supermarket and meal at a restaurant.
Own Business Remain Attractive
Surprisingly, despite the current challenging conditions, many aspiring entrepreneurs still see the prospect of opening their own business as attractive. In Germany, for example, only 2% of people who had planned to start a company before Covid-19 now want to abandon those plans. A significant number, however, are putting them off until next year (40%). At the same time, many established, independent operators have called on their creativity and fighting spirit to adapt their business models to the new normal – such as with deliveries, take-away options, online shops as well as digital events and vouchers.
These offerings are popular for many consumers. In Germany, for instance, 50% of customers are willing to use restaurants’ pick-up and delivery services, which also lets them support hospitality businesses.
Growing Trust in Local Brands
But that’s not all – during the coronavirus pandemic, appreciation for local, independent enterprises and brands has been growing all over the globe. In Australia, for instance, 80% of consumers say their preference for local brands has increased, and customers in India also shop more frequently at local supermarkets (+25%), greengrocers (+28%) and Kiranas (+39%). Likewise, around 80% of Germans make the choice to support local suppliers and buy more regionally-sourced products (58%). Fully 85% intend to keep doing so post-pandemic. This is a clear sign that supporting local businesses ranks high on their list of priorities. Consumers in the USA and the United Kingdom are also demonstrating great loyalty to local retailers: 39% of Americans and 36% of Britons have started ordering food from independent, local restaurants more frequently during the coronavirus crisis than before the pandemic. And digital channels, that customers can use to communicate with restaurants and place their orders, are an ever more important part of that.
In times of crisis, regional supplies, familiar surroundings and social togetherness take on a special significance for customers. Futurist Matthias Horx predicts that the coronavirus will steer our lives in a direction that will cause us to return to fundamental values. This clearly also goes hand in hand with a trend toward fresh, healthy, regional and sustainable products in the food sector, as the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s 2020 Nutrition Report for Germany and a survey by the Gallup Institute in Austria underscore.
Saving Independent Businesses Means Keeping Our Choices!
As the latest surveys indicate, people all over the world place great value on own businesses and want to help them survive. The data supports the conclusions in the METRO International Own Business Study 2019/2020: according to this survey, 80% of respondents want more own businesses in their area. The main reasons they choose products and services from own businesses are quality (52%), excellent service (50%) and the desire to support local enterprises. In addition, 40% say that independent companies offer them far better options for determining their lifestyle on their own terms than do non-own businesses.
Own businesses enrich society – every single day. To celebrate own business owners in a very special way, METRO launched the Own Business Day in 2016. Each year on the second Tuesday in October, the campaign spotlights owner-operated stores. In 2020, it is being staged on 13 October. In the year of the Covid-19 crisis, when the hospitality industry has been hit especially hard, there is one principle that is more valid than ever: own businesses around the world deserve our support.
Time to Give Back: #ONEFORYOU
In 2020, Own Business Day includes the #ONEFORYOU initiative. This is a way for customers to show their appreciation and businesses to jump-start their sales. The principle is quite simple: when people place an order, they add an extra drink or dish in honour of a person with whom they would like to share the moment but can’t because of today’s realities. The #ONEFORYOU idea is designed to bring people together, even as the coronavirus pandemic keeps them apart. It is designed to encourage people to share moments on social media and offer a virtual salute: To all own business owners, cheers and thanks – for their creativity, their courage and their perseverance.
#OneForYou is primarily intended to give the own businesses a so-called business boost, i.e. to increase their sales. And then, of course, to “be together” with my buddies, even if it is not currently possible in person due to these times.