Thoughts on the Future of Restaurants

May 14, 2020

What is the future of eating out in New York? There are as many opinions and projections about what restaurants will look like as there are restaurants. Erica Adams and Tanay Warekar report on surfacing themes in an article on Eater. Below are highlights:

Delivery: Bringing the restaurant experience home may be the most achievable way in the near future for restaurants to keep volumes at healthier business levels.

Prix-fixe Menus: In order to move patrons through their meal more efficiently, prix-fix dinners may become more the norm. Plus, a more curated, concise menu can lessen the variety of ingredients and prep time required.

COVID Etiquette: Exemplary impeccable service will now include COVID etiquette at the top of the list – things like safety, guest flow coordination, and hygienic attention.

Temperature Checks: Temperature checks of all employees, as well as guests at the door may become more the norm.

Lower-rent Locations: Rent is often a restaurant’s largest fixed cost. Therefore, lower-rent locations may become the more realistically viable real estate for eat-in restaurants that don’t charge a month’s salary for a meal.

Outdoor Dining: Added outdoor dining wherever possible will help with both space for social distancing and better ventilation. Perhaps local zoning laws will be updated to accommodate more of this.

Ghost Kitchens: Establishments are considering ghost kitchens, where prep work is done offsite in order to better achieve social distancing among employees in back-of-house areas.

Virtual Menus: Menus may need to be accessed via smartphones to limit publicly handled materials.

Bar Reservations: The impact on bars, many known for their shoulder-to-shoulder and sidle-up scenarios, may be even harder to imagine. Rubbing elbows with strangers at a bar may need to be reconceived. Barstools every six feet will give watering holes a very different vibe. Drop-in neighborhood bars may start to require reservations and/or memberships to insure a more controlled number within the space.

Read the full Eater article here.

To get a further perspective on the challenges restaurants will face in the coming months, you can review the Reopening Guidance provided by the National Restaurant Association.

Restaurants and eating out have always been a significant part of our culture and social fabric. Though the future of food service is unknown, one thing is for sure: no matter how restaurants evolve, they will continue to be a part of our shared experience.