Foodee Global Concepts’ COO Eric Dee believes that the industry’s counter measures to the COVID-19 crisis are an “after thought.” To address this, Dee’s group decided to work with Michael and Deneice Chan of CY Designs to come up with an attainable and functional “open proposal” for restaurant design post-pandemic.  

Can restaurateurs work with these new restaurant redesign ideas? How will these concepts evolve moving forward?

JJ Acuña of JJ Acuna Bespoke Studio believes that people will remain social creatures, which is why there is still a need for places to converge. In a post-pandemic world, the industry has to give more emphasis on health and safety. This includes sanitation, social distancing, and flexible arrangements, among others. 

For Dee, the usual dining experience can still be preserved despite the new measures restaurants have to follow. Consumer satisfaction can come on top of innovations on restaurant design. Dee recommends that establishments reduce contact points and disinfect regularly, whether by machine or manual means. He also sees sanitized and enclosed pods as an opportunity to dine alone or in groups. 

Dining pods serve as a bubble to provide protection for customers from virus exposure. With technology, sanitation, temperature, and airflow in pods can be easily controlled. They are usually built with glass in a sturdy frame.

Some features of these pods include:

  • Contactless menu via app or QR code
  • Contactless serving via conveyor belt
  • Mist spray system to sanitize the pods for every new customer 
  • UVC light along the hallway and above the conveyor belt safe for human exposure
  • Flexible acrylic table dividers that can be used or removed upon need
  • UV room for the staff’s PPE 
  • Department of Health (DOH) minimum requirements 

Aside from modifications in restaurant design, Dee also sees the following changes in dining:

  • Improvements in safety, hygiene, and cleanliness
  • Accelerated pace into contactless dining and cashless transactions
  • Proliferation and improvement in takeout and delivery
  • Cloud kitchen concepts popping up
  • Homegrown businesses flourishing

Dee wanted to approach this project with a clean slate and define the important aspects of dining. He believes that there are opportunities in every crisis, especially after seeing a couple of restaurant takeovers and store openings that give the industry glimpses of hope.

“Dining out is a communal experience, so we had to make sure that we are able to maintain the communal feel while still being safe,” Dee says. 

For him, unprecedented events call for unprecedented actions, and that the crisis enabled the industry to assess its lapses and seek improvement moving forward. 

“This crisis has brought a lot of hardships, but it has also helped us improve and become stronger, become survivors,” he says.