Before 2020, many avenues for sales had already been depleted by a multitude of companies. New innovations were starting to be introduced which included curbside pickup, retail delivery, ghost kitchens, and more. All of this changed last year when many industries, like restaurants, cratered after March, while others, like grocery stores, found the best version of themselves with significant sales increase. Thankfully, not all is lost and what at one point seemed like a dire situation has turned into the opportunity to reinvent and change years’ worth of limited potential. In 2019 every industry was part of a carefully set table that has now been flipped upside down, making the future less certain, though more alluring.

The segments that suffered significant decline over the last year have seen the kind of snapback that is almost unbelievable. What’s more is that some of these verticals have exceeded their previous highs and have been launched on an upward trajectory that would not have been possible before. The home furnishings business is an example of this phenomenon and recently hit a revenue spike that was greater than their all-time high in 2005. Household appliance and jewelry stores have followed a similar trend to rewrite their future. Grocery stores played out in a slightly different manner as they never saw a true dip and have instead seen multiple spikes that have kept revenue far above previous years. These industries have been able to harness the lessons learned to improve for years to come; however, they pale in comparison to the trade with the most eruptive change.

There is little argument that restaurants were the hardest hit industry during the events of the past year and their drop in revenue confirms it. What is equally shocking is the rate at which they mounted their comeback. Their recovery was not as immediate as some others; however the movement they made would have been unbelievable last year. Many restaurants have gone from counting the number of days they could keep the doors open to doubling down on expansion. There are still a number of segments within the industry that are struggling such as fine and casual dining, yet people flocked back when restaurants opened their doors. The fuel for this resurgence is the fact that the landscape of operating a restaurant is no longer familiar to those who would have viewed it a few years ago. Ghost kitchens have become a viable way to make a profit and digital ordering is no longer optional. These changes have created new avenues for profit and they are not simply temporary fixes to survive the pandemic. Wendy’s has committed to opening 700 ghost kitchens and new delivery only restaurants are popping up every week. Despite the heavy losses, the restaurant industry could find itself in a better position in the next few years than would have been possible otherwise.

The game has changed for almost every industry. The devastation of what transpired has given way for the opportunity to reinvent and question old industry practices. Legacy companies have reimagined their business models and new hungry entrants in each industry are ready to carve out their future. Revenue gains and losses will eventually level out and rate of adaptation will slow down; however, now is the time to strike. Every industry is in the process of determining what they will look like in the next decade and there is no better time to mold that image. The brave new world we find ourselves in will have challenges and rewards aplenty.