It’s no secret that 2020 has been a crazy year.
The COVID pandemic has impacted just about every life in American in one way or another. In fact, if you haven’t had to change the way you live to one degree or another, you must be living in a bubble.
Nearly every type of business has been hurt, including restaurants. This means it has become extremely challenging to enjoy the experience of dining out in the way that most people have long been accustomed to. And yet many restaurants have worked hard to provide creative dining options for their customers.
This article takes a look at important ways the restaurant business has confronted COVID so that you can continue enjoying eating out. Keep reading to get the inside scoop.
1. Ghost Kitchens
Here is a concept that many restaurants have begun to experiment with in an effort to keep the lights on and keep their customers happy.
What is a ghost kitchen? It’s a food industry hack that enables a restaurant to serve strictly as a food preparation operation. This is especially good when an eatery has developed a strong carryout business.
Why doesn’t it work? Because you won’t have to worry about seating your customers. The restaurant simply prepares the food and then sends it out for delivery.
But that’s not where the beauty of a ghost kitchen ends. The kitchen space can also be rented out by other restaurants for their food prep so that they don’t have to worry about keeping their doors open. This is a great way to share the love and keep the money flowing.
Operating a ghost kitchen might not sound ideal, and yet it helps to keep loyal customers happy.
2. Upgrading the Drive-Thru Experience
Here’s a fun idea that is both creative and definitely takes the drive-through experience to the next level.
Imagine enjoying a 5-course meal served entirely at the drive-thru. Well, this is something that more and more eateries are experimenting with. How does it work? Check it out:
It’s actually quite simple and fun. The customer places their order for a 5-course meal and then picks up the first round at the drive-thru window. They drive around or park to eat, and as each course is finished, they pull through for the next course, and so on until the entire meal is finished.
3. Pop Up Restaurants
One of the biggest bummers about the impact on the dining experience during COVID is the inability to enjoy your favorite restaurants. After all, seating is limited, and not everyone is comfortable dining in close quarters with a bunch of strangers. In other words, providing enough space for everyone to feel safe has become a significant issue.
One solution for this is pop-up restaurants. What does this mean? Pop-ups are simply temporary experiences. Rather than serving food onsite at their official place of business or focusing on carryout, these restaurants “pop up” in a safe outdoor space where they erect tables or some other form of seating, and allow customers to order from a menu created specifically for this environment.
Some communities have managed to take the experience a step further by encouraging multiple restaurants to feature pop-ups in the same location in order to offer an even greater choice of food options for customers to choose from.
This is truly a special experience, especially when the weather cooperates.
4. Catered Picnics
When your family is ready to get out and enjoy great food without dining in, consider having a catered picnic.
This is a creative option that allows you to order your meal in advance and have it delivered to an outdoor space for an upscale picnic. It’s great for both the restaurant and the customer because everyone is safe and there’s limited clean-up involved. Plus you’re able to enjoy the combined pleasure of eating out while also having a picnic.
You could also enjoy your friends to make it a group picnic, just remember to practice proper social distancing.
5. Online Ordering for Dine-In
Now let’s look at a way to save time and money by ordering your dine-in meal before leaving the house. Why is this such a great idea? Well, for starters, it will help reduce the amount of unnecessary time you spend at the restaurant. After all, the kitchen can schedule your meal to be served the moment you walk in the door. It also reduces your interaction with the staff so that everyone can stay as safe as possible.
Be sure to check out these stone crab claws.
6. Virtual Menus
During the pandemic, many restaurants have made the switch to disposable menus, moving away from the traditional laminated kind. This has been an effort to create a single-use menu that only gets touched by one person.
But here’s an even better idea: simply use the virtual menu on your mobile device. This will help reduce costs and eliminate waste, plus you’ll have the convenience of studying the menu at home or in the car during the drive over.
7. Meals Kits
Meal kits have become increasingly popular in the past few months. This is a takeout option where the restaurant prepares the ingredients and packages the meal, and then the customer takes the kit open to finish cooking everything at home.
It’s a cool way to enjoy food from your favorite restaurant while dining safely in your own home environment.
8. Larger Outdoor Seating Areas
Another idea gaining momentum in the restaurant business is creating larger outdoor seating areas. This could mean expanding into the parking lot or simply placing tables all around the perimeter of the building.
9. Carry-Out Wine
Selling wine is a big business for many restaurants. And yet many eateries are currently selling less wine than ever before. This means their wine cellars are failing to generate revenue.
A creative solution to this is to order your bottle of wine from a virtual menu and simply pick it up just as you would any other carryout item.
A Guide to Creative Dining Options You can Enjoy During the COVID Pandemic
Eating out might be more challenging now than ever before, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely do without. Fortunately, these creative dining options have an opportunity to still enjoy great restaurants while staying as safe as possible.
Keep scrolling to discover more cool lifestyle tips and advice on this blog.