How COVID-19 Has Changed The Future of Restaurants & Dining

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Since the global outbreak of COVID-19 emerged, restaurants, cafes and other dine-in establishments have been hit hard.

Not only has the pandemic rocked the industry, but it has also altered consumer perceptions and our dining out habits. Let’s take a look at COVID-19 has changed the future of restaurants and dining:

Cleanliness First

It goes without saying, but COVID-19 has pushed for pristine cleanliness and hygiene. For restaurants, it’s been a necessity in order to keep their doors open and make customers comfortable enough to walk through the door.

With cleanliness being a deal-breaker for customers dining out, restaurants are doing everything in their power to disinfect their premises and follow health and safety guidelines. Look around and you’ll likely find hand sanitising stations, disposable silverware, staff wearing masks and routine cleaning sessions at any restaurant you visit.

Changes In Restaurant Design

Although dine-in business has returned in many places, we’re still seeing tables spaced out in restaurants – and fewer of them – to adhere to reduced capacity limits. To keep in line with social distancing measures, restaurant and cafe owners have found modular furniture to be key in creating flexible table and seating arrangements. 

As well as that, the pandemic has forced some restaurant owners to re-evaluate their kitchen fitouts with cleanability now high up on the list. This means swapping out furniture and fixtures for more durable, high-quality alternatives like stone benchtops and stainless steel benches – which hold up better to cleaning agents and last for a longer time.

Shifted Focus To Takeaway & Delivery

Getting takeaway or food delivered has become the new normal for anyone still wanting to enjoy their favourite restaurants. In fact, the global pandemic saw the market skyrocketing to all-new heights, with a 19% increase observed in restaurant takeaway orders. 

In saying that, more restaurants than ever have been partnering with third-party food delivery companies to get orders to customers’ doors. Drive-through lanes and designated pickup zones have also been implemented to keep business while minimising physical contact with customers.

Rise Of Ghost Kitchens

As more customers continue to gravitate towards takeaway and delivery options, many food businesses are adopting the ‘ghost kitchen’ model – where physical dining spaces are no longer in use. This sees entire teams putting their resources towards cooking and preparing orders for takeaway and delivery, instead of serving customers in person. 

To read more about this growing phenomenon, check out our in-depth article here.

Increased Outdoor Dining

To make up for lost indoor capacity, restaurants are converting backyard gardens, grassy areas and sidewalks into charming little outdoor dining areas – and it’s been a hit!

Apart from enjoying the open air, diners feel more at ease dining outdoors due to the lower risk of transmission. Even as restaurant dining returns to normal, we expect to see the restaurants maintaining and even expanding their outdoor dining options.

New, Creative Menus

To keep customers interested and returning for more, restaurants have had to push the boundaries with their menus. Whether it’s introducing family meal kits, incorporating local ingredients, revamping menus or selling grocery boxes, restaurants are switching things up.

Plus, with impacted supply chains and lesser availability of ingredients, it’s made all the more sense for restaurants to narrow down their menus and run with their best-selling dishes. 

Contactless Menu Viewing

With new menus come new ways of viewing them – thankfully, without the danger of spreading germs.

Restaurants have been using Menuzen to not only create, design and share their menus online, but to also transform the menu viewing experience. The free menu software allows restaurants to display QR codes in-store that scan straight to their live menu – where customers can browse it from the comfort of their own device.

To find out more about Menuzen, explore its features here:

  • Item Manager
  • Menu Manager
  • Menu Designer

Try Menuzen for yourself!