Let's Check Out How Some Restaurants Are Pivoting During COVID-19
Feb 09, 2021 04:07 PM EST | By Ernest Hamilton
It's impossible to exaggerate the extent to which COVID-19 has caused upheaval around the world and damaged economies. The restaurant industry has been particularly hard-hit.
There were periods where indoor seating was reduced by 50%, then restricted altogether. If the constraining conditions weren't difficult enough, the way laws kept shifting caused an atmosphere of uncertainty that only made things harder.
But restaurant owners were resilient and found new ways to sell food safely. Let's check out how they did it.
Restaurants that didn't use to specialize in take-out pivoted to allow customers the chance to pick up food right from outside the premises. Curbside pick-up is basically take-out, but the hand-off is designed to facilitate social distancing.
Customers feel comfortable that they won't have to enter the physical premises, so there's no risk of spreading COVID-19.
Virtual Restaurant Model
Why pay for the overhead of a dining room when nobody can eat inside? The virtual restaurant model facilitates orders through online apps, and then the kitchen prepares food exclusively for pick-up, take-out, and delivery.
When restaurants struggle to pay bills, it makes sense not to waste money on needless expenses, and space for indoor seating is a substantial financial burden. Virtual restaurants are also known as "ghost restaurants."
While the virtual restaurant model predates COVID-19, more businesses are taking advantage of this approach because it's so well-suited for the times.
Some types of food are not very conducive to delivery, so restaurants package the pre-portioned raw ingredients together in a "meal kit" the customer prepares at home. This way, customers can enjoy the same food they'd get at a restaurant, and they also get to enjoy the cooking experience.
Meal kits also date back to before COVID-19, but they've become more popular during the pandemic.
A meal box is like a meal kit, except it isn't oriented around a single meal. A meal box allows customers to enjoy food from their favourite restaurants and incorporate them into different meals.
For example, whereas a meal kit might be "tacos," a meal box might contain food you can incorporate into different meals over a few days, like bread, special condiments, and lots else. Different restaurants have their own take on meal boxes and meal kits, with innovations arriving on the scene all the time.
Delivery Through Food Apps
Many restaurants that didn't offer delivery service pivoted once the pandemic began. Rather than create an entire delivery service apparatus from scratch, restaurants partnered with ride-share companies with a food delivery service.
Suddenly, people quarantining at home could enjoy food from restaurants that didn't use to deliver. At the same time, restaurants that were dine-in only extended their reach. If you're going to order food, don't forget to give your driver a generous tip!
The restaurant industry is a pillar of local economies across the continent, and enjoying great food with family and friends is perhaps the bedrock of culture everywhere. COVID-19 has made conditions difficult, but restaurants have reached into their bag of tricks to find ways to serve people delicious food.
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