COVID-19 has caught everybody off guard and is seen impacting the dining industry the most. Wiggling through the crisis and preparing the sector for what comes next, the restaurants have opened their doors to the audience by taking precautions, using digitalised menu- contributing in flattening the curve as it encourages contactless ordering and a safe environment for the customers to cherish every bite.
“Making contactless service the new normal, the digitalised menu works with a QR Code, enabling customers to order while being at least risk for COVID. Normalising the tech-friendly service will further help us in embracing the post Coronial era better and prepare us for a healthy future ahead. Digital implementation is easy and a cost effective solution. Further it enables outlets multiple menu, easy change over, add/delete items, promotions etc at a touch of a button,” said Abhishek Bose, CEO, My Menu.
Diners can use their smartphones to access the menus, place order and make payments. This will help avoid contact with the hard copies of menus and bill receipts.
"Dining out is considered as an enjoyable experience usually. However, with the COVID-19 scare, only those who really crave the food at restaurants will come out during this Unlock 1.0,” believed Chef Karann Talwar, Managing Director and the Gastronome Chef, Kitchen Kraft Luxury Catering, New Delhi.
As the government has released guidelines for various industries to restart functions and the focus is on hygiene and sanitation, restaurants expect an increase in hygiene and sanitation costs. Once the visitors will become tension free in visiting the restaurants and increase their frequency, then only the real picture can come out. Until then, we must wait.
Regular social distancing has come into practice at the restaurants like keeping the one-meter distance in mind and for instance, a four-seater table will now seat just three. Plus, if a member of a group is running a temperature, entry for the whole group will be disallowed, in dire times restaurants are also coming up with innovative ways to stay afloat. A few restaurant chains which have branches in Delhi and Mumbai, along with other Indian cities, are now delivering DIY (Do it yourself) kits at homes for their popular dishes. The kit contains pre-made items such as sauces and dips, and cut vegetables and other necessary ingredients for the dish.
“Also, with the onslaught of COVID-19 pandemic on earnings, restaurants are now also mulling to cut fixed costs such as employees salaries by reducing the number of staff members, corporate office size, etc. Some of them are also considering new rental agreements such as a revenue-sharing model,” added Talwar.
Not only this, top five-star properties are also getting all things fine in place. The Westin New Delhi, Gurgaon is reinventing their services in line with the new normal and adhering to the guidelines issued by the government for the hospitality industry, while seeking ways to deliver enhanced guest experiences, safety and value.
“We have always placed emphasis on standards for hygiene and cleanliness, we will continue to strive for higher standards with enhanced protocols. These include multi-faceted procedures both at the hotel and the resort, designed to address each aspect of guest journey- right from pre-arrival to a safe dining experience to the check-out, as well as back of the house operations, with the aim of supporting guests' well-being throughout their stay. As we move from being aesthetically clean to clinically clean, we look forward to welcome our guests back,” said Rahul Puri, Multi-Property GM, Westin- New Delhi, Gurgaon.
Similarly, Varun Puri who owns famed-desi brand Imly and Dutyfree bar has opened only one outlet of Imly because of the high maintenance cost and safety issues.