How the coronavirus pandemic changed our experiences of eating out forever

Let’s be honest. Before 2020 and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, you probably feel complacent about life in general. Then, when the COVID crisis hit home, you began to take stock and see more significance in some activities that you had taken for granted for several years.

Sometimes this is how our mind works, as a society. Only when we are challenged, or when we see our way of life altered, do we take more time to see what we have and, in fact, do we also understand the importance of aspects of our life that we never thought about.

In the words of Joni Mitchell in his iconic song Big Yellow Taxi, “you don’t know what you have until you leave.” But unfortunately, more real words have probably never been uttered.

When it comes to how coronavirus affected industries and changed markets as a whole, the hospitality industry is a sector that looked worse than most. The number of restaurants and bars permanently closed during the two years of the pandemic was truly staggering, with tens of thousands of people shutting down.

The way the catering industry has tried to adjust accordingly is a sign that things will not be the same as before the virus attack.

The industry has changed forever

Those restaurants that survived the pandemic, at least the worst aspects, as the virus has not left us, are those that either had solid financial support (huge chains) or those that adapted to it. This has reduced the number of options for customers and has made those who are still in operation have had to raise their game.

High-end restaurants with opulent dining chairs and sophisticated design and those with a more real appeal were more likely to survive, and many of the options in between collapsed.

Likewise, those with great takeaway options thrived during the two years of the worst restrictions, and if your restaurant didn’t have much favor in that area, you missed a trick.

Eating out is now a luxury for most of us

Before the pandemic, some of us ate away from home on a regular basis. Even those who don’t consider themselves well-favored would eat out maybe once a week. However, the act of eating out will now begin to become a luxury. This has already become apparent, and is a factor that has led to the closure of many restaurants.

An activity we got used to enjoying so much has become a less common pastime, and that means we may be willing to pay a little more on the occasions we go out.

Somehow, this is a bit like taking a step back in time. In the 70’s, 80’s and even in the 90’s, families ate away from home as a delicacy. However, it would be a one-time thing and not the “norm”. Going on a date at an exclusive restaurant was something that seemed like the heyday of decay, and maybe we’ll go back in that direction.

While this way of thinking may be more forced and not a cultural change, it is likely to hold for a while, especially when we are in a post-pandemic financial crisis.

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The crowded areas are of concern to us

Although the virus has decreased in terms of the damage it causes, especially if you have been vaccinated, we are still very uncomfortable in crowded places. This means that restaurants that had previously tried to pack people to maximize capacity have had to adjust their designs and not just conform to government guidelines.

Think of the crowds of business lunches that existed before the pandemic, where people approached the side of strangers. Meals were brought to them as if they were just visitors on a conveyor belt, and it is an experience that visitors will no longer accept.

Companies that respect and plan for it are more likely to receive repeat visitors. This is especially true for restaurants and cafes that have large outdoor areas, which allow people to literally breathe more easily.

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Take Out Has Never Been Better

It is true that people asking for takeaway food, delivered by motorcycle delivery staff, was already a growing industry before 2020, and has now expanded beyond recognition.

Just walk out your door and look left or right. Invariably, you’ll see a fleet of color-coordinated delivery drivers on scooters and bicycles, weaving through the traffic to bring people their takeaway meals, to explain how popular the niche has become.

We may have thought before that takeaway food was less than what you ate in a restaurant, not only because of the time you spend outdoors in the bag of a delivery driver, but now it’s something we do instinctively. .

It has never been so easy to order delicious food, and the relative extra cost of doing so is so small that we can hardly doubt it. This is another reason why we no longer visit restaurants as much as before; somehow, there is no real reason to do so. This is a fundamental change that will not be reversed. The genius is fine and really out of the bottle.

One more niche experience

Suppose we admit that eating out is something we will all do much less. In this case, it is not a giant step to determine that our personal preferences play an even more important role in the decision-making process when selecting a restaurant that we want to visit.

Restaurants that offer a niche experience, whether they cater to specific dietary needs (such as vegans) or for tasty or geographic purposes (e.g., restaurants that offer a particular food genre in a region) will become the more welcoming the more personal the experience.

So if you have these specific requirements that when you find a restaurant that caters to them and does it flawlessly, you will come back again and again.

All of this is part of the culinary experience that must improve your game to make up for the demand deficit, a critical factor where we are now in terms of the gastronomy industry.

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