As the world grapples with the social, economic, political, and health impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we have seemingly forgotten one innocuous fact: we will no longer fully enjoy the dining room experience at restaurants. This is something we have taken for granted. Before the pandemic shut down virtually everything, we can go about our days knowing a nice full meal at a cozy restaurant awaits us for dinner. But that’s long gone now. Although some restaurants are operating once more, the new normal in dining will never be the same again.
Food is a common denominator among people. Families and friends bond over food. They meet up for coffee and cocktails. They talk about life while munching on the olives in their martinis. They crack jokes about the past while binging over a plate of mozzarella sticks. This is the one thing that people enjoy sharing, and yet, somehow, the pandemic has taken that away, too.
Takeout Is the New Normal
For the past three months, restaurants have shifted their focus from a great dining experience to offering delivery and takeout services. Ramen shops have to transform their no-takeout policy into cook-it-yourself ramen packets. Now that some restaurants are fully operating again, they have to dedicate a takeout area for their guests. This area should be separate from the main dining area.
Fine Dining Experience Is Different
Forget about how waiters lavish you with attention pre-pandemic. They won’t put the table napkin on your lap anymore. They won’t pull your chair for you. There has to be as little human contact as possible when you dine in.
Many restaurants put up dividers and glass partition on tables and countertops of the main dining area. There are also directions on how people should move in the area, so as to prevent them from bumping into each other or having close encounters.
Contactless Payment Is the New Payment Method
Waiters can’t take your credit cards and process the payments anymore. You’ll have to do it yourself. There should be a card terminal on your table, or you’ll have to go to the counter yourself to process your payment. Or you can use your online bank accounts to transfer money to the restaurant’s account. Thankfully, technology is ready for this new norm in paying for your dues. There are plenty of contactless payment options for establishments to choose from.
Home Chefs Are Born
Every day, someone out there is discovering talents in the kitchen. The pandemic has shown that anyone can whip up a banana bread straight from the oven. Fresh-baked bread in the morning? Sure, quarantined people have learned to make their own bread because some people actually hoard all the loaves they can get their hands on. Even if the dining room experience will be very different from before, people are getting creative in how to up their food game.
While in no way these are normal dining experiences, people just have to make do with it for now. A lot has changed over the past months, but the resiliency humans are known to have proven to be the game-changer. This is also the same resiliency that will allow people to enjoy this new normal in their dining experience.