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The Road Ahead : A Culinary Perspective By Naim Maadad, Chief Executive & Founder – Gates Hospitality

There is absolutely no iota of doubt in anyone’s mind that the lifestyle of mankind has undergone a huge transformation in the Coronavirus era. The culinary industry as a whole is also facing its toughest challenge ever in these times. How should it deal with it?

Food Safety, hygiene and sanitation procedures will take the forefront priority in these times Points of congestion would be identified and worked around to be avoided – ensuring a smoother flow For restaurateurs looking to the future, the perspective of the given norm for a successful opening has undergone a reality check

With over 38 years in the hospitality world across Australia, Asia, & the Middle East in various senior management roles, Naim Maadad  has launched & operated some of the world’s best Hotels, Resorts, Spas & Lifestyle Food & Beverage Concepts.

“Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” – Helen Keller

There is absolutely no iota of doubt in anyone’s mind that the lifestyle of mankind has undergone a huge transformation in the times of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. The culinary industry as a whole is also facing its toughest challenge ever in these times.

Whilst every business reinvents itself in the current market situation, the food and beverage dine in sector also would be left with no choice but to adapt to the new requirements the world order has emerged into.

Food Safety, hygiene and sanitation procedures will take the forefront priority in these times – and it would be much more visible than the normal ways to deep clean in the dark hours when the restaurant operations team are done for the night. The team of janitors would, rightfully so, receive the much-needed limelight as they would lead the return of the social confidence as major foot soldiers of the venue.

Read: KSA and UAE Health & Wellness Food & Beverage Market to Reach $14.56 Bn

The standard operating procedures would need to be tweaked to incorporate the additional processes to ensure food safety, health of team members and guests, enhanced hygiene routine schedule, deep cleaning, supplier sanitation process, etc.

Restaurant seating will be looked at more closely. Points of congestion would be identified and worked around to be avoided – ensuring a smoother flow – which will have a huge positive effect how the waiting team safely manoeuvre around the space efficiently maintain the social distance norms. Every minor detail and every touch point needs to be seriously considered. Along with constantly sanitizing all surfaces, the revised plans should also be on installing additional automatic soap dispensers, trash cans, cashless online payment methods, and door openers, in an effort to ensure minimal direct hand contact on any surface.

Gloves and masks would be part of the staff uniform till such time there is no permanent medical solution for the pandemic. Staff training and reminders in the daily briefing sessions would a lot more focus on the social etiquette, guest interactions, hygiene and sanitation processes, as these need to be evident on the floor in reality – not just in messaging.

Read: Food Wars: Why are UAE restaurants and food delivery apps duking it out?

The table setting process will also undergo a sea change. Unlike the spic and span restaurant arrangement where in all the tables are set for the meal session, the new procedure might see restaurants do the table setting only after the guest is seated. This will assure the visibility in the revised standards implemented.

For restaurateurs looking to the future, the perspective of the given norm for a successful opening has undergone a reality check. The usual comfort of the seating, the chic artwork, the glazed marble floors, or the imported wine list has a new requirement moving forward. The guests would also look into how safe do they feel in the venue. How much does this serving team cares about safety and hygiene standards.

Every bit of the dining experience will have the touch of information technology have the huge impact. Several restaurants plan to allow only guests with pre-booked tables – and this would need an upgrade in the reservations management platform.

Read: Dubai’s restaurant reservation startup Eat App raises $5 million in Series B funding

A greater number of restaurant goers will shift to the use of personal smartphones to access the information online. Also the use of QR code that allows guests to scan with your smartphone and view the menu on your own personal handheld device. Guest preferences would be captured more stringently and this would enhance the personal service delivery in the post pandemic period in a new way.

Not all is gloom and doom. The shape of things to come looks very positive indeed. There is an opportunity to be grabbed. And we certainly will.

“Carve a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment.” – Martin Luther King Jr