What will going out to a restaurant look like after the coronavirus crisis?

Restaurants will eventually reopen, but the experience of dining out itself will never be the same in a world forever changed by COVID-19

Any eateries in New York City that survive the crisis will have to rethink how they operate in the aftermath of the crisis. But what will that look like?

“We’re going to have to adhere to the guidelines that are provided for us,” said John Phillips, owner of The Mansion, a Upper East Side restaurant open since 1945. “That may be inviting customers to sit one seat apart, it may be plexiglass windows between each booth, it may be [operating at] 50 percent capacity.”

Dividers, disposable menus, and even disposable condiment dispensers might be the future but so much is still unknown.

"Six-foot radius, contactless, gloves, plexiglass, I'll do all of that, it's really easy," Jeffrey Blank, the CEO of Alicart Restaurant Group says.  "We have restaurants in New York.  We've grown up with overregulation.  We're totally wired and know how to handle that stuff."

He says the real question is whether customers are going to be there when they reopen.

The NYC Hospitality Alliance held an online meeting with bar and restaurant owners on Thursday.

“We’re still in the midst of this, we don’t know when we are going to be able to open, and to compound that, we do not know what consumer purchasing behavior is going to be like,” said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. “If there’s not a vaccine, are people going to be comfortable sitting in a restaurant?”

For most of the restaurants in New York City, however, it’s just a matter of trying to get by for now. 

"It's something that keeps you awake, frankly," Phillips says.


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