Remember when you used to spend your weekends trying new cuisine at your favorite spot in town? Or the avant-garde dining experience that you made reservations for 12 months in advance? Oh, the good old days! Well, before you know it that will be the “new normal” once again. However, not everything was bad in the name of dining during the pandemic. Restaurants found clever techniques to keep you interested, and the good thing is some of those techniques are here to stay.
Changes in the Post Pandemic Restaurant Experience:
- The modern restaurant should balance convenience and socialization. Pre-pandemic, the largest growth model for the industry was off-premise consumption. Due to the pandemic, off-premise growth continued exponentially. When the restaurant experience can neutralize again on-premise dining is sure to see a significant percentage return, but experts feel it may not reach pre-pandemic numbers.
- COVID-19 pivots are here to stay. Many restaurants were forced to pivot. This involved things such as social distancing barriers, smaller menus to turn larger profit margins, digital ordering, and 3rd party delivery/curbside opportunities. Most operators feel reduced menus and 3rd party delivery/curbside opportunities will remain for the foreseeable future.
- To-go drinks are a millennial must! As restaurants searched for creative ways to turn a profit during the pandemic, one tried and true opportunity was booze-to-go. Statistics have verified millennials love ordering to-go beverages in their small town or big city, including using their various delivery options. It was stated by millennials that they would be more apt to order from a restaurant that provided this opportunity. Only time will tell us if the local ordinances will continue to allow this service post pandemic.
- Comfort is king. With so many healthy opportunities for boxed food kits delivered to your doorstep, how are restaurants to compete? Offer comfort. Those who are health conscious often dive into cooking, so they are aware of the nutritional value and calories that are going into their meal. But even the best cooks need some down time. Restaurants have seen success offering the comfort food that we crave during our laying low winter weekends or staying in and watching a movie night.
In summary, dining is continually evolving and changing. Change after change, it will remain a reoccurring experience we crave. The staff at JL Architects love this experience just as much as anyone, so much so that we have a designated project team for designing such establishments. The next time you get the opportunity to try that new place or dine where you are known on a first name basis, keep us in mind. We would love to help those that serve you.
PS………When the pandemic comes to an end there is probably going to be an explosion of indoor and outdoor dining. I’d suggest making your reservations now!