The covid-19 pandemic has struck all the industries hard. While other industries are slowly opening up, it’s the restaurant industry that has been hit majorly by this pandemic. With reductions in the capacity of dine-in, urging guests back into the dining room has been difficult for them.
Amid this pandemic, many restaurant owners also believe that this unprecedented period will spell the end of fine dining. With unemployment and ongoing safety concerns, no one will be willing to spend a lot of money in restaurants like they used to before. However, there are a few restaurants who think that things will get back to normal by next year. As they say, change is constant. So here’s how some restaurant owners around the world are adapting to the new normal.
1. Sat Bains, Nottingham, England
Restaurants in the U.K have been allowed to reopen for both indoor and outdoor dining since July, but the owner of Sat Bains had decided to keep the restaurant closed until August 26. Speaking to a leading daily about the situation, founder Bains said that no one knows what the future has it for us. We all are in the same boat. And all we can do guarantee the safety of our guests and staff, first and foremost.
To maintain social distancing, Bains said that several tables are removed at the restaurant. Apart from this, table-side service is changed to reduce contact; instead, dishes will be finished at a new mini show kitchen in the middle of the dining room. Bains is quite optimistic about the future and says,
“I do believe the resilience of this industry is incredible. We have been through recessions, and we came out of it.”
2. Bosphorus Turkish Cuisine, Dubai
While Dubai is returning to normalcy slowly, restaurant owners are taking utmost precautions when it comes to customers. The hygiene rules are being followed to the T. The restaurant staff is constantly wearing masks and gloves. Apart from the temperature check, the restaurants are now offering sanitizers to the customers before the food. Not more than 4 people are allowed to sit on the table and all other precautions are in place to ensure the safety of customers and the staff.
3. Mikla, Istanbul, Turkey:
To adapt to the new normal, while continuing with business, Chef Mehmet Gurs has also implemented a set of new protocols at Mikla- a restaurant in Istanbul. These include a concerted effort to reduce cross-contamination of surfaces: guests get their single-use menus, or they can read a digital version by scanning a QR code. Speaking about the experience so far, Chef Gurs, in an interview with a leading daily said,
“Surprisingly, most customers still want the full tasting with beverage pairing. They stay for a long time and really squeeze the most out of their experience.”
“Bookings have been down as international travellers remain home, but the local clientele is loyal. “When we first opened after the lockdown, we were only open from Thursday through Saturday, instead of our regular six-day week. But soon, we will go back to our normal schedule.”
4. Central, Lima, Peru
The fancy Central restaurant in Peru was finding it hard to reopen the restaurant since Peru is still in an official state of emergency. At present, the dining room is operating only at 50 per cent capacity. The restaurant has to follow all the protocols that include six feet between tables, temperature tests at the door, and mandatory masks upon entry. Not only the dining rules, but the dining hours have also tightened. Looking at the current scenario, Chef Virgilio Martinez in an interview to a leading daily said,
“We’ve never worked this way. In South America, when we go to dinner, it has to be late. Now, there isn’t a clear distinction at Central between lunch and dinner. We are kind of mixing everything together.”
5. Massive Restaurants, India
Massive restaurants own multiple eateries not just in India, but across the world. While keeping the current situation of India in mind, the restaurants are still not allowed to function. And speaking about the future of dining and difficulties because of the pandemic, Zorawar Kalra, the founder of Massive restaurants, in an interview with Curly Tales said,
“This time has been quite difficult for all of us. The restaurant and hospitality industry has been hit badly. However, we are hopeful that everything will bounce back to normal soon. As per me, we will return back to normalcy within 12-14 months.”
Dealing with the new normal is going to be difficult for all of us, and sharing his thoughts on this, Mr Kalra said,
“Whenever we open the restaurants, our number one priority is going to be safety. Since the only way to get people back to the restaurants is by offering them stress-free dining. We will make sure that customers get a sense of comfort and security while dining at our restaurants. As a part of the new normal, sanitization will take place after two hours. Temperatures will not only be checked for the customers, but also the employees. Our employees will be wearing PPE Kits and face shields too. The kitchen menus will also come down in terms of quantity, but the quality will be better than before.”
6. Olive Group of Restaurants, India
Data suggests that due to the pandemic, 30-40 per cent of restaurants might never open because of the losses they have bared in these months. And speaking more about the industry and the new normal, Mr AD Singh, MD of Olive Group of Restaurants and a member of the National Restaurants Association of India, in an interview with Curly Tales said,
“Even when the lockdown ends, people will be more cautious than never. We are expecting to open the restaurants in India by January 2021 and are hoping to bounce back like before. Yes, we will have distance between the tables and mandatory temperature checks, but I also feel that the whole experience of dining at a restaurant will somehow be missing. However, we can just hope for the best.”