The State of the Post-COVID Restaurant Industry


The beginning of 2020 marked an irreversible change to the world because of the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. With no initial plan to combat the disease, industries came to a screeching halt. Among them, the restaurant industry was hit the hardest, as many restaurant owners are struggling to keep their businesses afloat through layoffs and reduced hours. There’s an abundance of uncertainty, but to gain a deeper understanding of the industry, let’s paint a metaphor. Imagine the restaurant industry as a rainforest: a diverse landscape composed of trees and plants (restaurants) competing for a substantial share of sunlight (markets). Longstanding brands breach the emergent layer and hog the sunlight, with lesser known brands and startups absorbing any light that seeps through the canopy, minimalizing their chances for success. If we attribute the pandemic as a giant tree falling in the rainforest, destroying other plants in the process, many would perceive it as impending doom for the industry, but it’s not the end.

That fallen tree just opened up ample space for sunlight to reach the forest floor. This is not an end, but rather a new beginning, especially for restaurant owners with new concepts who wouldn’t thrive under regular conditions. How can restaurateurs of all levels capitalize on this opportunity? To answer that, we’ll have to take a closer look at the two prominent kinds of business owners in this new landscape.

The Strong

It’s a given that the monoliths of the restaurant industry (McDonald’s, Starbucks, Chipotle, etc.) have the resources to survive the pandemic. However, there are lesser known concepts that made the right entrepreneurial moves to keep themselves in business despite the pandemic. This includes incorporating third-party delivery apps like Uber Eats and GrubHub into their business model, as well as providing take-out options. While operating well under new restrictions, these restaurant owners still crave expansion, but the uncertainty of the market is preventing them from doing so. Their ability to expand under these conditions relies heavily on the next group of restaurant owners.

The Struggling

The second kind of entrepreneur in this industry are restaurateurs who are currently struggling to break even under the pandemic. Factors include: business experience, how long the restaurant has been in business, or simply a substandard product compared to similar concepts. Despite modifying their business with delivery and curbside pickup models to survive the pandemic, they’re running out of options before having to use their savings to keep their venture from closing permanently. However, the rising trend of ghost kitchens in the restaurant industry can offer a helping hand to both entrepreneurs.

The Solution

Ghost kitchens are professional food prep and cooking sites with no dining areas to facilitate delivery and to-go orders. With no dining area, ghost kitchens can operate in incredibly small spaces, making them highly favorable and affordable for those looking to launch a venture. Moreover, ghost kitchens utilize minimal staff, helping restaurant owners cut down on overhead by reducing personnel, especially for restaurants that experience substantial down time. The minimal elements of a ghost kitchen paired with versatile serving options make it the perfect fit for the post-COVID restaurant economy.

Combo Kitchen

With ghost kitchens on the rise, a new concept has emerged: Combo Kitchen, the world’s first ghost kitchen franchise. Combo Kitchen offers entrepreneurs ultimate flexibility by allowing franchisees to open a ghost kitchen and incorporate up to four reputable concepts from the Combo Kitchen Network. By equipping a Combo Kitchen with popular food concepts like poke, pizza, and Tex-Mex, franchisees can boost their sales by offering various menus from a single location. If you’re looking to open a restaurant, Combo Kitchen is the perfect, COVID-proof opportunity to invest in. However, Combo Kitchen’s mission to save the restaurant industry isn’t exclusive to franchisees.

Expanding the Strong

The strength behind Combo Kitchen is the ability to offer franchisees an exclusive list of the industry’s strongest brands from the Combo Kitchen Network. Their founding team of restaurant experts are constantly recruiting the strongest food concepts in major cities to join the network. If you’re a restaurant owner and are looking to open multiple locations, we recommend you join the Combo Kitchen Network. This allows you to expand your concept nationwide, grow your branding, and gain exclusive insight on how your menu is performing across different markets.

Empowering the Struggling

If you’re a restaurant owner looking to keep your business afloat, then Combo Kitchen can help! Instead of making costly changes to your restaurant, you can franchise a Combo Kitchen concept to incorporate into your kitchen without making any changes to your business at all! How is this possible? Combo Kitchen’s restaurant experts will analyze your kitchen and pair you with the perfect concept from that utilizes the same equipment you own. This eliminates the hefty costs of expansion while opening multiple streams of revenue for your venture! You have the freedom to operate your Combo Kitchen concept solely as a ghost kitchen, or modify your signage and interior to announce you’re offering a new concept of food. However you choose to do it, Combo Kitchen’s dynamic business opportunities are here to help you!

Saving the Industry by Bridging the Gap

Simply put, Combo Kitchen is the bridge that helps restaurant owners expand and keep their businesses from permanently closing, thus saving the restaurant industry one location at a time! Other ghost kitchen consultants specialize in the tech and real estate aspects of the concept, failing to recognize what really drives the restaurant industry: people. Combo Kitchen understands that successful restaurants are built by motivated entrepreneurs who engage in all aspects of their business, not just the administrative side. Don’t let the uncertainty of the economy stop you from achieving your entrepreneurial goals. If this opportunity sounds appealing to you, contact Combo Kitchen today to learn more about how we can empower you and your restaurant!