With many communities seeing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, the restaurant industry continues to take hit after hit. Many diners may not want to dine outdoors with winter approaching, leaving restaurants concerned about how they’ll maintain their sales. Others are grappling with gathering restrictions that limit the number of customers indoors. Facing an uncertain future, many have begun to wonder what restaurants may look like.
A recent article in Fortune magazine spoke with David Chang of Momofuku Noodle Bar and Melissa Wilson of Technomic about what they believe the future of restaurants will look like.
According to Chang, unfortunately, Momofuku Noodle Bar has had to close two restaurants due to COVID-19. However, he is still optimistic about the future of the chain and plans to take the business into the pre-packaged food industry. This makes a great deal of sense for Momofuku because of the brand’s recognition and the popularity of takeout during the pandemic, a service that may not be going anywhere anytime soon. For restaurants that aren’t as big as Momofuku, there are still lessons to be learned. Prepackaged meals don’t have to be exclusive to bigger chains. Many smaller restaurants have had success selling meal kits during the pandemic, too.
Melissa Wilson thinks restaurants of the future will look a little different than they do now. She envisions restaurants having sanitizing “UV portals,” which would sanitize customers as they walked through the restaurant doors. She also believes that artificial intelligence may be put to use in kitchens, where the AI would ensure that employees are washing their hands and maintaining safety standards at all times.
Looking to the Future
In an industry that is projected to lose many more restaurants and has already taken losses to the tune of 120 billion dollars, these moves could help restore consumer confidence and ensure safety for both employees and patrons alike.