Monday, December 14, 2020

Restaurants Are Getting Creative For Winter Dining.

Winter is pretty much here and due to the increasing Covid virus, many cities and states have brought back restrictions from eliminating inside dining to cutting the number of people who may be inside a building or at a gathering.  This can make it so much harder for restaurants to survive. Back in the summer, it was easy to open up outside to observe social distancing but with winter comes snow, cold weather, ice, and other issues that makes outdoor dining so much harder.

This has made restaurant owners think creatively to solve the problem.  I read of one restaurant that pitched individual clear tents outdoors that look like those plastic greenhouses you put in the living room.  Each tent was large enough for a two or three people plus chairs and tables.  The idea is for dinners to  enjoy a meal inside while still being able to enjoy the view outside.  

This idea is great in areas where winters are mild and do not get extremely cold. It reminds me of when my parents pitched the tent in the back yard so we could camp out without going anywhere.  You enjoy the experience without going out of your way.  

Another idea I've seen implemented is really creative.  Several restaurants have gotten together with various hotels to create a dining experience.  The idea is that the hotel has several empty rooms they have changed into private dining rooms.  The restaurant takes reservations from people, notifies the hotel who prepares the room for that evening.  The restaurant provides the food, waiters, and everything else that is needed for a full meal. The diners arrive, head straight to the room, orders their meals, enjoys the meal, and leaves.  When the people have left, the restaurant cleans up the food, dishes, etc while the hotel cleans the room.

One restaurant quoted the cost of this type of meal as $65 plus another $50 for the use of the hotel room for three hours.  The hotel added in the offer that if a couple decides to stay overnight they can take the $50 charge and apply it against the $250 cost of the room for the whole night. This offer allows both the restaurant and the hotel to get business.

Some places have redone the interior to create individual pods by breaking up the area.  The smaller pods provides distance from other eaters while creating an intimate dining experience.  In addition, restaurants redesign the air circulation to provide better ventilation making the whole eating experience safer.  Other restaurants decided to build exterior structures such as barns to provide space, distance, and the ability to eat outside safely.  

Several restauranteurs created family style meal kits that people purchase and cook at home.  The kits have instructions and everything needed to make the same dishes they'd get at the restaurant. In addition, they offer take out and pick-up for people who prefer not to cook.  Another step many restaurants have taken, is to create apps so people can place orders ahead of time for pickup rather than calling in.  

Unfortunately, not every restaurant has been able to adjust to the coronavirus restrictions and are already out of business while other are expected to fold because they will be unable to get the amount of business necessary to stay open.  It is sad when your favorite places go out of business due to the Covid.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. 

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