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Business model shift in independent restaurant operation: the COVID-19 impacts


Restaurant operators adapted their business practices and concepts during the COVID-19. The aim of this research is to identify the transformation of key components of independent restaurant business models. We used a reference framework comprising three key variables—Process, People and Profit—used to distinguish the influence of fast failure concept and the necessary adaptation of the traditional revenue model. The impact of this crisis on their business models and the decisions on which some practices are grounded have allowed us to review traditional processes and assess their relevance. This research is based on 10 interviews with restaurant operators located in various regions of Québec (Canada). The results show that, in this period of insecurity shared by customers and restaurant operators, processes were the components most affected by this upheaval. These processes were characterized by sharing of responsibilities among team members, speed of deployment of tests, and the importance of three elements: partners with multidisciplinary skills, stakeholders, and financial performance centered on profit margins instead of the usual volume aspect. Organic adaptation centered on experimentation and mutual adjustment of resources are what characterized an emergent form of business model in the restaurant industry.


Laporte, R., Théberge, N. et Veilleux, S. (2023). Business model shift in independent restaurant operation: The covid-19 impacts. Journal of Foodservice Business Research, 1-36

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Robert Laporte
Nelson Théberge