Although the COVID-19 pandemic affected nearly every sector of the U.S economy, it hit restaurants and food businesses particularly hard. In fact, in March 2020, the U.S. restaurant industry literally collapsed due to widespread closures. Even those lucky enough to stay operational during the pandemic had to change their business models in order to comply with COVID-19 guidelines. For instance, some adapted contactless curbside pickup, while others moved their business online. According to experts, some of these changes could become a norm in the post-pandemic world. As such, food businesses are re-designing their premises to promote greater safety. Here’s an in-depth look at how restaurants are blending dining and design to ensure safe onsite dining.
Maximizing Outdoor Space
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), proper ventilation can significantly protect you from contracting COVID-19 as well as other respiratory infections. To ensure that their guests access plenty of fresh air, restaurants are now using much of their outdoor space than indoor. The design of the outdoor dining areas includes the use of pergolas equipped with misters and shades during warm climates and heaters for colder temperatures. They also have outdoor bars, with bar seats positioned against the outer walls of the restaurant. With optimum climatic conditions, customers can comfortably dine outdoors at any time.
Social Distancing of Furniture
Unlike the traditional communal tables that would allow crowding, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the narrative, requiring social distancing. As such, restaurants have adopted the CDC-recommended social distancing measures by installing their tables at least six feet apart. This is to ensure that customers don’t transmit the virus as well as other communicable diseases amongst themselves.
Enhanced Indoor Ventilation
Restaurants are also making use of outdoor-indoor design concepts that allow guests to enjoy the outdoor environment without necessarily going outside. For instance, they have rooms with large windows that ensure maximum indoor ventilation. The rooms also have slidable glass walls that guests can open and close at their convenience. By sliding a glass wall open, a customer can enjoy great views and breathe fresh air while at their seat. The use of sophisticated HVAC systems also enhances indoor ventilation, with some restaurants incorporating air purifiers to kill viruses, bacteria, mold, and other contaminants.
In some restaurants, guests can also order their meals and drinks online or by phone to minimize contact with the staff. Others have single-use paper menus that customers can use to make orders. Take note that contactless ordering is ideal for outdoor dining spaces since customers don’t need to move in and out of the ordering area. This way, movement is also minimized, something which is necessary during and after the pandemic.
In a post-pandemic world, you should take measures to ensure safe onsite dining at your restaurant. Are you looking for more sustainable tips from designers to create an eco-friendly environment in your hotel? Contact Nikki Fox at ParkWest General Contractors at email@example.com. Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your building renovation and upgrade needs today.