Eva Pascoe | Digital Retailer
  • May 18, 2020
  • Eva Pascoe
  • Comments Off on Fine dining lockdown style – [retail.bytes]
  • Retail Bytes, Writing

Lockdowners are reported to be missing hairdresser visits the most, but restaurants came close second. The original meaning of the word means ‘to restore, to revive’ – from French of course- offering revival thru chat, laugh and good food in great surroundings. The concept is relatively modern, from about 1765 when a French chef started serving ‘restoratives’ in Paris venue, serving soups like boullion and “refined” menu to restore your body and soul. Many top London restaurants switched to home delivery to ‘restore’ us.  But as lockdown relaxes, we want to get back to our restaurants while observing social distancing. Thailand restaurants lead the way, placing a panda stuffed toys in every other seat to indicate to the punters where it is safe to sit. Extra bonus that a single diner may feel less lonely with a panda for company!

Bangkok clingfilms it up

Needs must and good old clingfilm can do wonders for customers’ safety. Thailand was the first Asian country to open it’s eateries. The enterprising Thai chefs put together low-tech contraptions from pipes that serve as scaffolding for transparent clingfilm, also known as SaranWrap and plentiful in every restaurant as it is used to wrap up food leftovers or the night. Now it is proving handy with isolating tables and allowing diners to munch on their fine food in relative safety. 

Credit @dezign

Hothouse cuisine

Micro hothouses are the solution to restaurant safety in Holland. A restaurant by the canal had an idea even before Covid struck to put individual tables in tiny glasshouses. It may look like something from “Oscar and Lucinda” movie with Cate Blanchett, transporting a hothouse on a raft up the river to Australian North but as a restaurant Corona concept, it is spot on. The serving stuff will not fit inside so they it hand over your food on trays. Next step is to roll out remote ordering from an app placed on a tablet located on the top of the table to minimise time and proximity to the waiter.

Credit @SeanMurray

Al fresco Danish style

Scandinavian countries opted for low-key re-opening with cafes allowed to serve tables outside. Social distancing of tables, masks and table-only services is rolled out in late May, to see if the customers return. Not much of a business model as costs will be considerably higher, with all the safety and cleaning products needed, while capacity will be reduced by 75%.  Café owners bet that the smell of coffee will bring the punters back and get them to linger as they used to. 

Robo-dogs to the rescue

With less customers allowed into the bars and restaurants, the way to cut costs will be thru automation. All our far-fetched robotic ideas floating around till now without much uptake, may now find themselves in demand. Robot dog called Spot is already patrolling Singapore parks to monitor if people follow Social Distancing. It is a bot created by Boston Robotics, now in demand to boldly go where humans shouldn’t. If you put a tray on it’s back and add one extra robo-hand to serve, it may be trained to bring you’re your beer next time. Good boy Spot!

Fine dining via tuktuk app

Colombo locals couldn’t leave their houses as Lockdown meant a strict curfew in Sri Lanka. But jugaad (Indian word that means tech innovation under stress ) worked wonders and Sri Lanka tech community, used to chaos and challenges after a long war, sprung to action.  

YoHo Mart grew from hotel booking to online home ordering grocery app and launched in express time, coordinating supermarket suppliers with punters stuck at home. You can order tuktuk bread vans, fruit deliveries as well as fish and meat specialists bringing you fine dining. Many local tech stars completed their Comp Sci degrees in London and Colombo became a hot spot for app outsourcing. Check them out.

Credit @GomezNiki

Beer gardens on remote tap

With no app for Covid19 and somewhat unclear guidance from UK gov, pub owners are taking matters into their own hands. Many are leveraging their front lawns and  turning them into unofficial ‘beer gardens’. Police has been watching but as long as the punters stick to one pint and maintain social distancing, the consensus is emerging that front lawns are acceptable for social meet-ups.  Thirsty customers queued patiently observing social distancing to The Swan Inn in Esher, with one-pint and plastic cups only rules accepted without much objection.

Credit  @TadSadowski

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