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Changing face of the Restaurant Industry in Corona (COVID 19) Times

People will never stop eating, and eating out is more of a social expression than just the act of eating. It’s about coming together for that chit chat over a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, or simply a formal meeting, a celebration of its own kind even when it’s just a casual meet up. Quite literally change is the only constant and in this constant, even the places serving food are innovating themselves to the new normal that everyone is adapting to.Just like the paper tissue earlier on the table in a restaurant, now wearing a mask and sanitizing is going to be a part of eating out. Wearing masks in public is already a new normal and so is a sterilizing solution bottle, You may not have considered washing hands every time you stepped into a fine dining earlier but sterilizing hands is going to be the new law of eating out. While contactless delivery is a part of home delivery but completely adapting to that is not going to be easy in case of restaurants, so let’s have a look at what’s happening around the globe in this space. And I am sure you are up for some surprise here.Paper menus are a thing of past:There had been many reports published even before lockdown/coronavirus alert that revealed that one of the most contaminated thing in a restaurant is the good looking menu booklets that changes many hands through a day/ month and year. But with post corona guidelines this will definitely be a thing of past. Many restaurants in India & abroad had already gone paperless offering digital menus in the form of Ipads or digital boards at the restaurant. 3 years back I have visited a silent cafe in Chennai that would have these on the table and they did pretty much everything without even a single word being spoken by anyone from ordering till payment. The server came just to place the food on the table that’s it.So this is again going to be the new normal of placing your order at a restaurant – to scan QR Codes and navigate through the menu, Zomato links may be referred probably to place orders, Maybe you can place your order on Zomato to dine in before you walk into the restaurant just like you book a table, well well well that’s all to unfold as the restaurants start their operations.Starbucks Coffee in Korea: Most of us had been to the Starbucks cafe before we went in the lockdown. So probably that’s how it is going to be after the lockdown gets over, just like the changes seen in Korea.Reduced seating will be an obvious thing, maintaining the safe distance for the people having their coffee in the restaurant.Proper indicator tapes/safety line stickers on the floor for people ordering and standing in the queue. Remember how we adored a coffee in the ceramic cup/mug probably that too will be replaced with the use & throw cups, So having a coffee may not be same as earlier but it is going to be much safer in the testing times and that’s how it should be, Right!Quarantine Greenhouse – Glasshouse at a waterside restaurant in Amsterdam, Netherland: Remember the small internet cafe’s the ones that had small cubicles in the late nineties, This was pretty same with glass walls and a small glass door for entry & food to be served right inside.The people serving are wearing the safety face shields and minimum contact is happening as the food is also bought on the wooden plank and placed on the table. After every serving the space is cleaned and sterilized to make it ready for the next customer.Frankly speaking its looks pretty romantic with a waterside location, what say?Mask for eating: Mask is surely the first item on the fashion list in 2020 that’s a part of a daily wear now. As goes the saying – Fashion is like eating, you shouldn’t stick to the same menu. So why would you stick to the same mask while you are going out to eat, isn’t it, well this maker of the mask to eat Asaf Gitelis of Avtipus Patents & Inventions certainly believes so with his invention of the manual mask to eat.This mask comes with a lever that you can hold in your hand to command the mask to open and close while having food. This mask helps you gobble the food pretty much like a Pac-man. Let’s see what more tools COVID- 19 will add to our eating out habits, while on the face of it, this looks pretty convenient but is not suited for all kinds of food.Blocking alternate seats in Bangkok: This restaurant in Bangkok placed a panda stuff toys on every table making the customer choose to sit only diagonally, that means you can’t sit face to face even if you are sitting across on a table and to make this easier and obvious the panda stuff toy is similarly placed on every table, making it easier for the people to know where they can sit and where they can’t sit, this not only makes it easier to sit on a table and maintain the social distancing but also offers a cute company to the customer who walks in without a company.So pretty much no one dines alone here, everyone gets a cute company of a Panda stuff toy without an extra cost. They have also used the transparent partition to ensure safety while having a meal.A Restaurant in Sweden with just 1 table chair: Being exclusive is what this restaurant has taken too seriously in Sweden, with just 1 table and chair and following no contact fine dining service .This restaurant used a rope to guide the customer to his seat under the sky in an open-air single-seater restaurant.The executive chef-prepared fresh food and served one course after the other and the freshly made food was served next to the table using a pulley ropeway and a basket that carried the food. And even the bill was collected similarly. Looks fancy but not financially viable in metro cities like Delhi.Plastic Pods: Have you seen the smoking hoods in certain restaurants or airports that come just up to your head and makes it convenient to smoke while sitting on a dining table and eating, if not then this is exactly an extension of the design and is made of plastic & it fits the table in a manner that you can safely be seated in a crowded restaurant and eat without having to interact face to face with your server or the person you are dining with, these structures look glamorous and chic too.These Plastic pods are not very costly and could be easily cleaned and replaced easily. The orders are received by the manufacturer from countries like Japan, Canada & Argentina. Would you like to go and dine in a restaurant like this, that you decide for yourselfThe Robot Barista in South Korea: Ever since we got to know the Coronavirus needs a human body to grow, Robots are becoming the obvious choice for the interface at most of the public places, and having a robot Barista is not different to this trend.This robot vending machine can make over 60 different kinds of coffee from hot coffee to cold coffee and uses a self-driving technology to navigate through the cafe to deliver the coffee on the table.There is only 1 person in the cafe and he does the cleaning task while making coffee and delivering it to the respective table with tissues, straws, sugar sachets, etc is done by the Robot Barista. Most probably we will get to see these in some cafe near us soon.Frankly speaking, this is one thing that hurt me a bit considering there are so many people a cafe normally employs, and with this technology intervention there will be a lot of people who may go out of jobs. Isn’t it much warmer when you have a smiling face serving you?Brooklyn Chophouse in Brooklyn goes Hitech: This restaurant in Downtown pretty much sums up most of the precautions that any fine dine-in restaurant has taken keeping in view everything under the COVID – 19 situation.There is clear partition among the tables, separating every table from the other one. All table settings from plates, glasses, all cutlery is wrapped in plastic to keep it safe from any infection once placed till used after sterilization. Dual sensors to take the body temperature as you walk-in to the restaurant without embarrassing you, first sensor takes the temperature of your eye and if you have more than 99.7 than the red light goes on without making any noise and you are taken to another sensor on the wall that takes the temperature of your wrist. Both the sensors do not make any contact with you and if your temperature is higher you won’t be able to go inside and have to leave. That’s not all the menu is not there on the tables you have to use the QR code to check the menu and place your order. They have dropped their sitting to 140 from a 200 seater restaurant keeping in mind the safe distance.The servers & the cooks are made to wear a fishing cap that comes with an extended poly sheet to cover the face till the neck so the staff doesn’t wear a mask but their mouth, eyes, and nose are covered making it safe to interact with customers and work in the restaurant. Well, it’s not over yet, while you are done with your food the wet towels that earlier use to come with just lemongrass now are boiled with a spoonful of disinfectant along with lemongrass so you are covered there too before you leave the restaurant you go out clean.While most of the stuff looks comforting, especially when the restaurant Industry is going the extra mile and is taking so much care to bring the best possible to us, still all is not well. Most of the fine dining places have central air conditioning and the air flows in a particular direction/pattern while cooling a place and this is really alarming for infection to spread faster than we can imagine. Have a look at this video to understand what it implies. Well maybe the open-air restaurants would be a better bet but in a country like India with variant temperature, this too shall not offer too much relief and thus it’s up to you to decide where you go and how long you stay in a Dinning space.Precaution is always better than cure as they say And this is where I would like to leave you wondering about what all you will get when you get to go back to a restaurant in India while they open up or when you get to visit these places.Stay Informed, Stay safe.

39 comments on “Changing face of the Restaurant Industry in Corona (COVID 19) Times

  1. Such an informative blog on the changing scenarios of the restaurant industry! Really Interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sudipto

    Really unique information over food.. great job…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! So much info. Loved the read.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good read Arti ! The fear of going out is still going to be there, we will have to train the sub conscious mind to be cautious, n yet not fearful

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very well articulated and brilliantly written,

    ..great going girl…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Neeraj Pandey

    Will remove fear of dining out for many. Very informative Arti!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lavli Kumari

    Very informative 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Garima Sharma

    This is really informative.. didn’t know so much is happening in restaurant industry. Thanks for writing and sharing 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for sharing the info. Very informative & well written article..

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Rohit Tyagi

    Very informative and detailed article. Good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. An interesting article which makes you think twice.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Neha Choudhary

    Wow, really interesting information

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Avishek

    Loved the analogies. Especially the internet cafe one. Hope ill not be reported against, if i were found drinking at the bar table with hands over the shoulders of a close buddy 😬

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jagat Yadav

    Very positive informative blog on the current scenarios. Great job!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. NITIN RAINA

    Interesting and we’ll written👌🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Quite well articulated Arti and informative too. The creative ideations to ensure safety of customers for service industry shall be the epicentre to rebuild brand and trust in upcoming months.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Khushboo Lama

    Valuable information Arti…you have shared detailed aspects of effective layout list which can really lightup in making food service to go again…yes food2go👍

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Valuable information Arti…you have shared detailed aspects of effective layout list which can really lightup in making food service to go again….yes food2go👍

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Saurabh Batra

    Great blog with so much info and sadness of today’s world. Great work mam.

    Liked by 1 person

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