The Kitchens Are Still Open: Eateries Reinvented

Since the first cases of coronavirus were confirmed, restaurants across the UK and around the world have been left in an unpredicted situation, leaving restaurant owners with no other option than to reinvent the traditional way of dining, in the aim to limit the financial damages that the ongoing spread of the coronavirus might cause and committing to save their businesses during the ongoing pandemic.

On Friday the 20th of March, an official announcement was disclosed for UK eateries. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all restaurants, bars, and cafés had to be shut for dining-in customers. This meant that restaurants had to come up with new solutions as quick as possible.

From takeaways to contact-free deliveries, discounts, and collection services, hospitality businesses have rolled up their sleeves to try and provide their regular services from the distance.

The main concerns about the closure are that restaurants will inevitably see drops in sales, due to no customers walking through their doors each day. Several restaurant owners had shown concerns even before the official closure, expressing the need for support from the government in order to be able to handle business costs and staff wages.

Additionally, many restaurants have been concerned about the costs of rent during this time. Leaders in the restaurant industry have urged the government for help by asking for a six-month lease forfeiture moratorium  which would protect restaurant businesses in case they aren’t able to sustain the costs of rent due to drop in sales while restaurants remain closed. Upon such request, the UK government announced a £330bn loan support package which aims to help businesses impacted by the coronavirus.

But many eateries, bars, and cafes are doing their best to be positive, serving their customers while respecting the current norms. While many have opted for collecting services, a significant number of restaurants are delivering freshly prepared dishes, diligently packed in takeaway food boxes and ready to be delivered at customer’s doorstep without physical contact.

Here, we’ll run through a few rather creative measures taken by hospitality businesses in the attempt to survive while their physical restaurants are closed, trying what best they can to offer their usual services to customers while they are at home.

Gin and Beer Drive Through

Has your favourite bar shut down during the coronavirus pandemic? This business owner says, ‘No problem’. There is now a gin and beer drive through, set up in Salford by Seven Brothers Brewery and its sibling brand Four Sisters Distillery. A rather creative way of serving gin and brew to all their customers when the traditional way isn’t possible.

At the drive through spot, customers are able to drive up and collect their orders of alcohol without having to leave their cars. This original idea helps minimize social contact while helping the business’ sales.

In a social media post, the owners of the gin and beer drive through commented: "We know how hard and confusing things are at the moment and social distancing is a must, so if you live local and want to collect your online orders without having to come inside and mingle then just tick the “drive thru” box in your cart and head down between 10 am to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays the day after you place your order (or any day after that)”.

Self-Isolation Survival Kits  

In London, The Cheese Bar truck is delivering two of the nation’s favourites: wine and cheese. As the owners stated, “The people need their cheese”. This business has found an original way to keep working in the midst of the current circumstances, by delivering ‘self-isolation survival kits’ across different areas of London. With two yellow trucks, they are doing door-to-door deliveries across various locations and on specific dates throughout March. A typical self-isolation survival kit contains British Cheese, Charcuterie, and a delicious small producer wine.

In order to respect the social distancing rules, the bar truck is doing all deliveries without contact with recipients, to protect customer as well as their workers.

Discounted Meals

A substantial list of restaurants across the UK have showed solidarity during this time by offering discounted meals to the NHS, council, and emergency services staff, who are all contributing to the safety or the nation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Contact — Free Deliveries

Recently, US delivery company Door Dash launched a campaign that aims to remind people that although physical restaurants are now closed, food will still be delivered to those who want to eat in their favourite restaurants.

The #OpenForDelivery campaign reminds customers that they can still enjoy food from their favourite restaurants while practising self-isolation. The campaign involves a 30-second spot in which customers are reminded that restaurant delivery is safe and that, despite the difficult situation, chefs and restaurant staff are working hard to continue to receive food orders.

The spot says, “While the doors may be closed, the kitchens are open for delivery” and it’s encouraging people to support their local restaurants, even from their homes.

Having seen the above cases, it’s encouraging to see that despite the difficult circumstances, restaurants are coming up with original and creative ideas that aim to protect their businesses as from potential damages as well as helping their staff to keep their jobs.