Categories: Food & Dining

How COVID-19 Could Change Restaurant Designs and Practises

*This article was published in May 2020

Restaurants have been massively affected by the pandemic. Although most eateries are yet to fully open for dine-in, in time, these outlets will need to cater to the new demands of the public. So how will COVID-19 possibly change restaurant designs and practises?

New restaurant designs and practises

Unfortunately, there’s no set blueprint for restaurant designs that are capable of withstanding the effects of this pandemic. However, there are a few key aspects that can be tweaked to address safety concerns like social distancing.

First up, embracing the concept of going hands free as much as possible. According to FSR Magazine, the new normal calls for minimal contact to be a part of dining experiences. This includes swapping usual menus for QR code scanned copies. Similarly, the crisis will cause an increase in sensor-based hand washing practises and the operation of restaurant and kitchen doors.

Next, the coronavirus will see a growing number of restaurateurs shrinking their menus. Operators will have to choose to stick with their best-selling items and comfort foods. To thrive post-pandemic, chefs will need to constantly be innovative as they seek to stand out from the crowd, while also keeping an eye on simplicity, to ensure they can cope with the new demands.

The COVID-19 has also put an end to crammed up dining rooms. Therefore, using space creatively to maintain distance and maximize seating will be a main priority going forward. FSR Magazine highlights that a community table meant to seat people together will still exist, but dividers will be installed to separate diners.

Additionally, booths and banquettes will be swapped for flexible tables and chairs that could create mini areas for friends and families. Christophe Gernigon, who leads a design studio, has taken advantage of his time off during lockdown to come up with a creative concept of suspended plexiglass bells that will ensure a minimal barrier between customers.

The need for new restaurant designs and practices is also evident in ETEN restaurant at Amsterdam’s Mediamatic arts center. Dubbed Serres Séparées, French for separate greenhouses, this project hosts diners in individual glass enclosures. On April 27 and May 5, the restaurant ran soft openings, welcoming test diners into its five greenhouses set up along the Oosterdok marina.

Although it’s unlikely that all restaurants will adopt Mediamatic ETEN’s unique approach to post-pandemic dining, creative solutions like these pave the way for the hospitality industry to bounce back and embrace the experiences of the new normal.

Source: FSR Magazine, Washington Post, AFP Relaxnews

Sandeep Dhanoa

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Sandeep Dhanoa

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