June 2020: Restaurant Good News Roundup
The first two quarters of 2020 have been an exceptional time in modern history, no matter how you cut it. Between the continued threat of the coronavirus, economic tensions, international protests, and murder hornets, there are many intense things to confront in the world. Because of that, we’ve rounded up the feel-good stories. We’re not trying to take away from the genuine and valid conversations going on, but to emphasize why people have those conversations: to make the world the best place it can be. In our June 2020: Restaurant Good News Roundup, we look at the reasons that we all wake up, to help our community and lift one another.
The restaurant industry was ground zero for the economic crunch brought on by the pandemic, with millions of employees losing their jobs under lockdown protocols. Restaurants around the country pivoted to exclusively off-premise dining models or shuttered altogether, leaving many employees behind. Fortunately, after months of quarantine, guests are slowly starting to believe that dine-in traffic may be safe enough to pursue again. While that’s not quite a 100% case, it is a step in the right direction that consumers are starting to feel comfortable returning.
Since places in the U.S. started to reopen at the beginning of May, traffic has gradually begun to rise. After a brief bump at the top, in-house patronage tapered, growing incrementally throughout the last month. As those restaurants open up, they’ll need a little help from some friends.
Reopening and Public Safety
Of course, reopening for in-house service is impossible and irresponsible if it’s not done safely. More good news: U.S. Foods is working to help restaurateurs to reopen their doors the right way. Qualifying restaurants can receive a kit that provides PPE and other necessary items and resources to navigate local legislation. Meanwhile, scientists from the University of Pittsburgh are working on a 3D printable material that makes PPE long-lasting and more effective. Hopefully, these two dots are connected.
Continued Social Distancing Innovations
In some comparatively light-hearted news, exciting solutions for social distancing continue to pop up in the news. A Swedish restaurant recently implemented clotheslines as a mechanism for conveying food to socially distant customers to avoid any direct contact. Another Swedish operation has opened a restaurant in a nature preserve, with tables spread around miles of forest for the ultimate in isolation. Streets are closing in cities around the U.S. to provide extra space to limited capacity in-house traffic.
Still More Robots on the Rise
Almost every week, there is news about robots or A.I. introduced as a long term solution to social distancing efforts, and this cycle is no different. This type of forward-thinking can provide solutions for the next pandemic or national crisis and, hopefully, everyone after that. We’ve reported on robots that help with dishes, and we’ve taken a glimpse into the future to see what that may look like from a practical point of view. Recently, a Dutch restaurant rolled out waiter bots, which is a boost to social distancing efforts and an opportunity to enhance the customer experience. Now, science is looking at robots to help with logistical concerns like a waste. The idea is that restaurateurs can use robots to limit the use of overall plastics.
Feeding the People
The U.S. features numerous food deserts, places that face a shortage of healthy food choices. Those food deserts pose a challenge to residents and a hazard during a pandemic. Fortunately, organizations like Meals on Wheels help to supply for the elderly, while community organizers have created novel solutions like mobile grocery stores. Meals on Wheels was recently given a regional boost by way of an app meant to streamline the service for older residents in need of help, which includes training for seniors. Elsewhere, food banks and restaurants have come together to help the people trapped in those food banks.
Restaurants React to Protests
It’s challenging to think about the world around us without acknowledging the hard conversations going on around us. People are hungry, and some restaurateurs have responded by helping organizations that reflect their values or by feeding, peaceful protesters. Protestors have even helped to save a restaurant in one U.S. city, through their support and patronage. Irrespective of where you stand on protests, it’s encouraging to see communities come together with compassion.
We’re living in history right now, and while it’s easy to lose the thread in a world turned upside down, we must remember that there is good in our lives if we just look. There is a community, compassion, and innovation in the name of safety. Did we miss anything in our June 2020: Restaurant Good News Roundup? Is there anything we ought to put in the next feature? Let us know in the comments! We love to hear from our readership!
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About the Author
Syd was a content marketing specialist, which are fancy words for writing pretty to tell a good story. He likes writing things about food, drinks, and music. He’s a musician himself, a father of two, and loves his wife a whole lot. At home, like the rest of the world right now, he’s finding time to play with the kids and create art.