The pandemic has caused a seismic shift for the food and beverage (F&B) industry where food deliveries and takeaways now exceed dine-ins even post lockdown, by contributing 85 percent of total food and beverage (F&B) orders for the last three months of 2021, a study has shown.

According to a study by a cloud-based retail management software company, Web Bytes Sdn Bhd, based on aggregated data gathered over a one year period in 2021 from Web Bytes’ Point of Sale (POS) system, Xilnex on a random sampling of 1,100 F&B brand outlets, takeaway orders and food deliveries saw a sharp jump of 90 percent in May last year when the lockdown began, and the momentum continued even after the lockdown was lifted.

Dine-ins on the other hand, did not resume to pre-lockdown levels and continue to see a downward trend and contributed to only 10 percent of total F&B orders from October to December 2021.

Online food ordering has also seen an explosive growth since the pandemic began, and consumers are becoming increasingly savvy with scanning a QR code or accessing a web-link for their food orders. Close to 50 percent of Web Bytes’ F&B customers now use Xilnex LiveOrder where all food orders and payments are transacted digitally, regardless of whether for dine-ins, takeaways or deliveries.

“The pandemic has accelerated the urgency for F&B businesses to adopt an omni-channel approach, to allow their customers multiple ways to order and make payments, whether in-premise by scanning a QR code, or online or through third party food delivery apps. It is imperative that they deploy omni-channel and integrated POS systems that can help them streamline their operations and provide a seamless and consistent experience to their customers as well as maximize efficiency of their staff”, said Ooi Boon Sheng, CEO of Web Bytes.

“Although Covid-19 standard operating procedures for eateries have gradually eased, dine-in sales are still far from being back to pre-pandemic levels. The data gathered from our F&B customers’ transactions shows that consumers in Malaysia have adapted their lifestyle and are getting increasingly used to takeaways and food deliveries. This information is vital to help F&B operators make informed decisions on how to better manage their business and adopt strategies and tactics to cater to this new customer behavior.”

He stressed the importance of F&B businesses leveraging analytics and embracing proactive retailing with data-driven POS – having POS systems that go beyond handling day-to-day transactions and providing operational data, to one that can provide real-time analytics – to drive proactive and not reactive decision making, which is important to the continuity of today’s F&B businesses.

Early this year, Web Bytes introduced an iPad-based POS (iOS POS) to cater towards F&B kiosks and micro-F&B SMEs. The solutions are used by F&B brands such as Tealive, Marrybrown, La Juceria, BMS Organics Café and Texas Fried Chicken, and has an estimate total of 16,000 deployments in the F&B space.

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