Covid-19 is driving consumers to opt for expertly-crafted dine-in meals
South Africa is known the world over as being a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. In fact, one of the most popular tourist activities is attending cooking classes or local food experiences that are available through apps such as Airbnb.
We are also home to world-class restaurants and award-winning chefs but, due to Covid-19 and busy lifestyles fewer people are dining out, and more are eating in.
The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic forced restaurants across the country to close for a significant period and with South Africa experiencing it’s second peak many might have to close for the season too. Whilst many have closed indefinitely, others have chosen to shift business models to support a take-out and delivery-only service.
There are a number of food delivery apps available to local users from the newest Checkers Sixty60 born during Covid-19 to UberEats that launched into the local market a few years ago as well as Mr D Food that shares the stage with its international counterpart, both of which are popular countrywide. And while they provide a quick-fix to fill the gap, there is little on offer for those with more discerning taste buds.
According to Statista, the online food delivery segment in South Africa was projected to reach 965 million US dollars (R1,4 billion) this year with global statistics indicating restaurant take-out and delivery has taken a bite out of dine-in traffic, growing 300% faster over the past six years.
It is this conundrum that inspired the birth of CloudChef that supports local chefs who are dishing up and delivering fine, healthy, fuss-free meals and gastronomic delights for home enjoyment.
“Looking at all the cyber initiatives related to staying at home, CloudChef offers restaurant-quality dishes at affordable prices so that you don’t have to leave your house to indulge in expertly-crafted, wholesome, world-class eating,” says Louis Buys, CEO of The Delta, a tech company that specialises in building ventures and start-ups.
Recent surveys show 51% of Americans use delivery services to purchase meals from restaurants and 26% order take-out once a week.
Convenience is driving this trend, especially with millennials - fast becoming a larger portion of the consumer population - who want food delivered wherever and whenever they want, at the click of a button.
Based on current growth, Statista reveals that the number of users in the South African platform-to-consumer delivery segment is predicted to reach 9,6 million by 2024.
In addition to this; the enforced lockdown, social distancing and trade restrictions that accompany the coronavirus pandemic have no doubt indicated that regular dine-in experiences are the new normal. It has also caused stranded chefs to offer online cuisine classes to help beat the Covid-19 lockdown blues.
According to the World Health Organization, food delivery is a far safer option than dining out when it comes to lowering the risks of contracting Covid-19 - providing the packing and delivery of meals is in line with strict hygiene protocols.
Another side effect of Covid-19 is the 2.2 million job losses across South Africa that have knocked the restaurant industry.
It’s new platforms that is now able to help drive employment by allowing international and local professional chefs to showcase their menus offering more wholesome, high-end meals compared to the conventional food-delivery apps on offer, according to Buys.