5 Items That May Permanently Disappear from Food & Beverage Establishments
The world of dining looks very different now from what we knew before COVID-19. Restaurateurs in the U.S. have been looking to other parts of the world for examples of how restaurants in those countries have handled reopenings. While official agencies have published good practices and safety guidelines for restaurants to follow, you can expect that many of the fixtures you've known to exist in restaurants will likely disappear for the sake of safety and sanitization.
Buffets & Salad Bars
COVID-19 is transmitted predominantly by the person-to-person route through respiratory droplets. If respiratory droplets land on surfaces, then a person can touch a contaminated surface and inoculate themselves within a short period of time after that. As a result, buffets and salad bars will be removed from all restaurants for the foreseeable future.
Lemons & Limes Garnish Stations
Guidelines encourage restaurants to remove little tubs of cut fruit that are easily reachable by customers.
Unwrapped Disposable Cutlery & Straws
The National Restaurant Association has advised that restaurants remove unwrapped straws & cutlery from "self-service drinks stations," whether that's at the corner of a restaurant bar or at the milk-and-sugar area of your local coffee shop.
Table condiment setups like ketchup, salt shakers, and such will be replaced with single-use packets and pre-packaged, one-time-use items.
Restaurant Menu covers
According to WebMD, menus are often the most germ contaminated component of a restaurant. They are touched, handled, and passed around by dozens to hundreds of people a day. Menu innovation and modification is currently a key area of focus for industry experts.
Moving forward, paper menus will be treated like leftover food, cleared and disposed of before the next guest sits down. Single-use menus can be ordered in high volumes and recycled after each use. Since disposable menus are limited to a single sheet, restaurants may need to format their menu to fit in this limited space. Single-use menus are the safest option for restaurants, however, they come with a few concerns.
Printing costs can quickly mount.
Restaurants will need to manage their menu count like they would any food/beverage inventory.
Disposable menus carry an environmental cost since they can only be used once.
Like most industries, restaurants are feeling the pull toward digitalization and technology during COVID-19. Customers are increasingly interacting with their favorite restaurants through their mobile devices, either by delivery apps, websites, QR codes, or social media.
In order to minimize contact touchpoints, more restaurants will keep their menus in the digital space. The clear benefits to this are they require no physical contact, they can be updated in a moment, and the hassles of reprinting and paper costs are removed.