Restaurants & Bars | April 26, 2020 6:50 pm

What Will Restaurants Look Like Once Quarantining is Over?

Some American chefs are looking overseas for inspiration

Utensils
Restaurant owners are working on ways to safely reopen in the coming weeks and months.
Scott Bauer/Creative Commons

Across the country, restaurants large and small have been closed outright or operating on a delivery- and takeout-only basis. But with certain regions of the country looking to re-open businesses in the near future — and others are strategizing about how best to do so — many restaurant owners are grappling with how best to open to the public once more.

At The New York Times, Kim Severson spoke with a number of restauranteurs in Georgia and elsewhere about the steps they’re taking to once again host diners. Among the restaurant owners and chefs interviewed is David Chang, who spoke about looking to restaurants in Asia to see how they had maintained social distancing after re-opening.

One of the establishments mentioned is the acclaimed Hong Kong restaurant Yardbird. How are they working to create a safer environment?

Customers waiting for a table can’t congregate in what was once the restaurant’s crowded bar. Diners have their temperatures checked, and use a freshly sterilized pen to sign a health declaration form. Tables are spaced one-and-a-half meters apart, and parties larger than four aren’t allowed.

It’s something that sounds daunting — especially if you’re fond of eating as part of a large group. And the question of how restaurants will make ends meet with a reduced capacity is also something that many business owners are pondering.

In a recent interview, chef Sohui Kim — co-owner of a trio of Brooklyn restaurants — spoke candidly about balancing the realities of space with the need for safety. “If you cut capacity, the only thing left standing will be large restaurant chains,” Kim said in the interview — a worrying glimpse of what the future of dining after quarantining lets up might be.

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