[Ask FoodRazor] Ordering Patterns x Covid-19

Pivot. That’s the keyword of 2020 and 2021 for the restaurant and hospitality industry. We’ve seen case studies of how restaurants are changing their business models and modifying their operations to adapt to waves of lockdowns and Covid-19 responses. However, those examples are generally focused on the forefront of the operations surrounding ​​the expansion of take-out/delivery, innovative practices, and community outreach/corporate support. Here at FoodRazor, we’ve kickstarted a new initiative to highlight some insights into the back-of-house operations for the industry from our database.

We’re here to answer the question: Has the pandemic changed the way restaurants place their orders for ingredients? With restrictions still being introduced in places like Singapore, this question remains all the more relevant. We look at the numbers to try and find the answers.

Ordering Frequency

We calculated the number of days between orders made to the same supplier for each restaurant in Singapore and averaged it out for all of the restaurants in FoodRazor’s database.

Between 2019 and 2021, the number of days between orders to the same supplier decreased from 6 days to just under 4 days. There was an even sharper drop starting in July 2021 to just 3 days and less. This is a clear indication that businesses are ordering more frequently. We postulate that restaurants could be ordering more frequently in smaller quantities to hedge against sudden changes in pandemic management regulations.

Basket Size

For the most part, restaurants are spending less per invoice. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the mean amount spent per invoice per week for the average restaurant has been lower than the same week in 2019. This is with the exception of the tail-end of 2020 and the start of 2021. Total expended per invoice has decreased overall from a mean of $300 to somewhere around $275.

The dip starting in Week 20 of 2021 coincides closely with the tightening of Covid-19 measures starting May 2021 and has continued to this day (early October 2021).

More interestingly, the variations in total amount spent per receipt appear to have narrowed. In 2019, the average total per receipt per week ranged greatly from $250 to more than $400 with no clear se