The Future of Restaurants


Whether it's a beloved local diner or special destination booked months in advance dining out his always had a special role in our culture in every culture. We go to restaurants to celebrate catch up to explore meet new people being a new environment. It's often how we connect but of all the places we like to gather now shutdown by this pandemic restaurants are also some of the hardest hit so today. We're going to talk to people in the industry. The chefs the restaurant tours to find out what they're trying to do to survive for them for us for everyone. I'm Dr Sanjay Gupta. Cnn's chief medical correspondent and this is corona virus fact versus fiction restaurants. Sort OF BOTTLE. The zeitgeist their community. And it's where people celebrate as not just about eating. That's David Chang. He's a chef and the founder of the momofuku group which has restaurants around the world. He's also the host of the Netflix show ugly delicious if food establishments were important. People wouldn't want it so badly. There's just somethin'. That is a connection to just being human besides tasting delicious foods. Chang calls restaurants quote cultural banks and worries about the erosion. This pandemic has had on all aspects of the dining experience. We literally take ninety percent of cash flowing. Give it back to everybody else. On top of trying to make delicious food and build organizations however small they might be no one gets in this business at least that. Iron Meyer so they can make a ton of money they do it because of the life and the positive impact you can have both on yourself and others around you and you that away that that. That's that's going to be pretty brutal closing. His restaurants in March was extremely difficult. He had to furlough around. Eight hundred workers in this week decided to close to of his restaurants reopening others. Maybe even harder. You have to reconfigure literally every decision of how you operate in a restaurant. It was hard enough to begin with. How do you taste food? How you order food. How do you sanitize now? How do you do contact with delivery? You even allowed transaction via credit cards anymore. So now you there's like all of these things now that are going to be expensive. Chang doesn't have the answers yet. But he thinks he knows what it's GonNa take. Define I just think that we're going to need some ingenuity and creativity to sort of align some mutual problems that we have in this country particularly in the food space and sort of reconfigure. How this whole works on his twitter feed. Chang has also been asking people to send him photos of reopened restaurants in cities like Taipei and Hong Kong. It's fascinating to look at them. Some of the photos show. Police Systems delivering coffee. Temperature checks at the door and customers. Even receiving full body disinfectant sprays. Don't worry with their clothes on too many. These measures may seem a little over the top. The common thread is we have to actually make impossible hap and that gives me optimism really genuinely does because these kinds of impossible tasks that sort of her. My brain are what I most attracted to. And we can't have anyone working off a different playbook everyone needs to be working the same playbook every restaurant every business in the absence of a so called restaurant playbook the National Restaurant Association which is a lobbying group is doing what it can to try and offer some guidelines for reopening obviously frequent hand washing some element of distancing some element of face covering certainly reduced interaction between the host. And the guest. That's Larry Lynch Senior Vice. President of Science and Industry at the National Restaurant Association Lynch said it's already begun. Restaurants are already testing out new methods. Everyone's looking visit different ways just this weekend. We saw one of the towns here in Florida. Closed down one of their street to the restaurant. Tours could pull the chairs out into the street. If you're used to going out as being a curated. Dining Experience Lynch describes the post pandemic world as sort of a safety focused obstacle. Course I would say what you're probably GonNa find is before you get there. You're going to look online and look what the instructions are in that particular restaurant what their expectations or. It may tell you to wait outside. May Ask you to place your order online. It may tell you that once you get outside. Send them attacks and let them know. You're outside wait once you're inside. You may wait a bit before the waiter or waitress actually comes up and greets you greeting maybe something as simple as confirming your order rather than taking your order. Once you die. You may find that your table is included as fasces. Wasn't it passed. It's going to be cleared all at once rather than sporadically during the dining experience. When you're dining probably won't see the manager come over to ask how your view was and whether or not you enjoyed yourself. Restaurants are going to have to tailor safety measures to suit their capabilities and it is possible. Not everyone can physically accommodate these recommendations for example Irene. Lee doesn't see her Boston. Restaurant may may hosting sin diners anytime soon. We're a small restaurant so we have about thirty six seats. Which means the possibility of socially distancing inside the building is basically none but Lee. Who was a finalist for this years? James Beard Rising Star Chef Award has still managed to find a silver lining. We are pretty much going to have to change our whole model which sounds scary but is also a really exciting opportunity. So how do we re imagine what a restaurant can be? Water restaurant can do what restaurant staff are capable of Lee in her employees are already starting to answer those questions. For example her restaurant may may is open for delivery and is also hosting virtual dumpling classes. The restaurant is delivering groceries to healthcare workers and selling pantry staples to the community like milk and eggs. The goal to help customers avoid the grocery store because I think supermarkets are going to feel unsafe for a lot of people for a long time and I just think like we have the ability to get almost any of those products probably at a better price at Mamie and so it would be kind of unconscionable to not try to use that to help keep people safer and to make their lives more. Convenient Lee is taking this time to rethink how a restaurant should operate. And she's hoping the industry is a whole does the same especially in the areas where it was struggling even before the pandemic. I think that this is a huge opportunity for us to keep talking about the biggest issue that our industry house which is Labor on the issue of jobs and low wages and like terrible workplace environments. That is always been the bane of this industry. I am hoping that the compensation model could be altered and cross training could become more prevalent. But that's the long term in the short term lease preoccupied with just keeping may may afloat even though she says. The survival of the restaurant isn't her biggest concern. If mamie doesn't exist in in five or ten years that's totally fine with me. I'm going to be really pissed off if there are no cool. Independently owned quirky restaurants to eat at like I cannot eat every day I refuse and so I think that for me. The question about Future is almost a little bit less important but for a lot of people in this industry is all we have one thing I've learned. Is that the restaurant. Industry is full of dedicated creative leaders and is someone who enjoys dining out. I'm optimistic. They're going to find ways to meet the challenges ahead and keep this important part of our culture alive. It's definitely GONNA be an uphill battle but I'm GonNa do what I can to support my favorite places with takeout orders and contributions to out of work employees. They could really use the help if you have questions. Please record them. As a voice memo and e mail them to ask Sanjay it's dot com might include them in our next podcast. We'll be back tomorrow. Thanks for listening.

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