The COVID-19 virus has infected millions of people around the world and killed hundreds of thousands. It’s led to dramatic changes in the way people live, their freedoms, and even how people view relationships with others.
The announcement of a vaccine is fueling hope of an end to the pandemic and a return to normality. However, it seems likely that there will be long-term effects on what is seen as normal. People are likely to be less enthusiastic about hugging and touching others.
Business, especially restaurant and hospitality supplies have suffered greatly. They are likely to see the biggest changes in the long-term.
1. More Takeaway Than Eat-In
With many restaurants forced to close there has been a surge in takeaway and home deliveries. It’s likely that this effect will continue into the long-term. A vaccine and a reduction in cases will bring people out more but many will prefer the safety of their own home. This will encourage them to order food and eat-in more frequently than at the restaurants.
2. Big Chains Will Flourish
The knock-on effect of people ordering takeaways is that small restaurants and family-owned concerns will struggle to survive. These are the businesses that are already struggling as they don’t have the financial reserves to survive the pandemic.
Without a steady flow of customers, these businesses are likely to fail. In contrast, the big chains have the cash reserves to deal with the pandemic and restructure after, making the most of the new market opportunities.
3. Table Arrangements Will Change
People are no longer allowed to sit in large groups and this trend is likely to continue in the long-term, even after the pandemic appears to be beaten. The reason is simple, with a deadly virus so fresh in the minds of people it will take a long time before they trust being in a crowded restaurant or eating in large groups.
As such restaurants will need to rearrange their tables, creating plenty of space between diners and reducing the size of the tables. This is another reason why the smaller establishments will struggle.
4. Menus Will Be Overhauled
The classic paper menu will disappear. Restaurants will need plastic-coated menus that can be easily wiped clean between diners. Or, they may prefer to move into a more digital area. On the assumption most people have smartphones, it could be possible to download an app and order through it.
This would have the benefit of identifying customers which can be beneficial for the restaurant and track and trace schemes.
5. Hygiene Levels Reviewed
Finally, the hygiene levels and materials in restaurants will be reviewed. People will be dubious and ay sign of poor hygiene standards is likely to drive customers away.
All restaurants will need to review their utensils, condiments, table cleaning, and even bathroom cleanliness. If they don’t they’ll find customers are going elsewhere as safety will remain a prime concern for most diners.
It’s true that eventually, things will settle again, but it seems unlikely that they will ever return to the normal that existed before COVID-19.