Innovation in Dining During COVID-19

By Massimo Montone | Operations

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The pandemic has brought with itself a number of challenges. For restaurants, in particular, the challenges have been manifold. One of them however is the question of how to revamp restaurant dining innovation during COVID-19. It has taken the restaurant industry by storm and shifted entire business models to outdoor dining and take-away directions.

With the pandemic seeing no sight of fizzling out any time soon, finding new ways to up your restaurant dining experience has become the talk of the town. If you are a restaurant owner who is struggling to find creative restaurant innovation techniques, then you have come to the right place. Here are a few tips you can follow today. They are super easy to execute and effective in retaining customer loyalty as well!

Give the Ultimate Outdoor Dining Experience

Outdoor dining experience

With the demand for outdoor dining on the rise, you might want to join in on the bandwagon. For customers, their safety comes first, and providing them with it during the pandemic will get your restaurant up and running instead of shutting down.

For outdoor dining, make sure tables are strategically placed at least 6 feet apart and can accommodate a minimum of 6 people per table. Designate specific zones for people who prefer to smoke vs. those who don’t so as to avoid giving others an unpleasant experience – a well-structured seating space is what catches the eye of the customer from far away, so make sure to invest in it well.

Not only this but ensure adequate heating and air cooling systems are in place for outdoor dining as well. Portable and outdoor heaters for the winter and fans and parasols for the days where the sun chooses to shine bright will make a huge difference in maintaining the influx of potential customers. To make things even more appealing, add in some life with colour – a little bit of green and a mix of colours from fresh flowers will make your restaurant Instagram worthy and make the dining experience worthwhile.

Take Away Meal Kits and Comfort Food

With work from home and online schooling in place, adults and their families are finding it hard to adjust to the new normal and cook meals for their families. This is where you can step in. You can provide them with ease by offering take-away meal kits of some of the most popular comfort foods when they give your restaurant a visit. 

Offering a discount for purchasing the meal kit whilst dining at your restaurant can persuade the customers better towards investing in the product –especially since they have just received a good customer experience while seated at your restaurant and been satisfied with your high quality food. 

P.S. here’s a tip - conduct a survey online or in-person of customers as they visit. Collect information on foods that are popularly craved for during lockdowns. Next, make a list of comfort foods in this way and craft modified meal kits that people can purchase while they visit your restaurant. You can even provide them with the option to order online. Remember, the wider the audience you cater to is, the better it is for your business prospects in the future.

Post-Menus Online

Following SOPs is a given, and to ensure minimal physical contact, post your menu and services online. This will help you save up on menu costs and ensure safety for yourself and the customers. By strictly following guidelines in an innovative way, customers will feel safe dining in your restaurant and come back again. In addition, you can even set up menu boards in easy-to-read areas as well.

Go Green with Paper Cups and Plates

Here is a really innovative one. Try switching to environmentally sustainable options and opt for paper plates, straws, and cups. Even the utensils – opt for wooden spoons and forks. This is another added safety measure that customers will prefer rather than using ceramic utensils.

You can even make to-go boxes of food which are made of paper. Pick food items that don’t perish that easy to give them a long shelf life. Make sure to place them where they can catch the customer’s eye while they enjoy the dine-in experience. You don’t want to sound too pushy or force them to purchase the food items.

Car Dine-in Option

This technique is the most sustainable dining innovation during COVID-19 which many restaurants are following i.e. the trend of car trays. The rate of investment for them is high, especially since lockdowns are frequent making outdoor dining options available for specific time periods. In this case, car trays are a suitable option for customers.

Customers can visit your restaurant and enjoy your food whilst getting the outdoor experience from the safety and comfort of their car. Staying bounded within the home has taken a toll on people’s mental health and they prefer sustainable and safe options for dining and eating their most favourite meals; thus, making this option ideal for them amidst the pandemic. 

The Bottom Line

With new shifts in the way people interact, innovation has become key in helping your restaurant business survive and sail through the storm. Follow these restaurant innovation techniques and see the difference it makes in your customer’s experience and your restaurant's brand. You definitely don’t want to miss out on the bus. So get cracking today!

To learn more tips on how to manage your restaurant effectively and stay up to date with the latest restaurant trends, visit our website. Here you will find multiple guides via blogs, videos, and even personal consultancy services to make your restaurant dealing techniques innovative and creative.

For further information, you can even give us a call at 0203-916-5199 or drop an email at [email protected]. We will get back to you as soon as we can.

New eBook Reveals How To Successfully Open A Restaurant… Free E-Book!


About the Author

Massimo’s career has grown up through the restaurant world, starting as a waiter through to high-end restaurant openings within an operational management capacity. This depth of experience has allowed him to understand the business from both a guest’s needs to what a team needs, giving him the benefit of an all-rounded view and approach to problem solving.