Researchers have spent years poring through the restaurant industry and figuring out what strategies do and don’t work to attract diners and get them to spend more - and now they are seeing ways that businesses can apply those lessons to the Covid world.
Here’s what they have found.
There are two types of diners right now, one is often younger people who want to overcompensate for everything they missed out in. This crowd is often looking to socialise with people in an intimate space with loud music and dim light. The other group is more fearful of the virus and apprehensive about returning to indoor spaces - but can be reeled back with safety and precautions.
How can restaurants meet the needs of both? Creating two different atmospheres if possible. One section might have more tables spread out, brighter lights and quieter music to reassure diners and give them as much space - and sense of safety - as possible. The other area would be more dense, darker and louder, for diners who don’t mind getting up close and personal.
Many restaurants were all about getting as many diners through the door as possible - and maxing out seating to do so. But during the height of the pandemic restriction, when restaurants were forced to reduce capacity, many simply removed tables from the dining room.
Percentage of restaurants are now more cautious and have not replaced those tables. I believe that standards in restaurants have improved because of social distancing, diners like to sit up against walls or windows or a structural column rather than sitting crammed on a table set in the middle of the room.