REINVENTING THE RESTAURANT

Same place, new reality, more committed than ever

The reopening of restaurants under strict sanitary and hygiene standards—with social distancing and restrictions on capacity—represents a perfect, small-scale metaphor for a new reality that will extend into every aspect of social life.

 

Changes in protocol aside, the return of restaurant dining also helps reactivate something intangible, something emotional. We are gregarious creatures, after all, who need to socialize. Sharing is a basic need—whether it’s a meal, a glass of wine, a conversation, our insecurities and reassurances, our hopes and aspirations.

 

Sharing a meal is at the core of human exchange. Good food and drink provide the perfect excuse to get together and connect. They create a friendly setting in which to express who we are and envision who we want to become. 

 

Pictured, outdoor dining at the El Celleret Garden Restaurant (Pacs del Penedès)

 

 

Restaurants, terraces, bars, wine shops, and markets are like the board on which we play the game of life. These places bring us together and create a sense of empathy. They go beyond the simple concept of a “business”—we could go so far as to call them temples of humanity; small universes where every table is its own fleeting world where people come and go.

 

We wouldn't be able to enjoy these moments without the dedicated professionals of the hospitality sector. They approached the lockdown with anything but resignation—instead they developed new dreams, taking advantage of the hours in confinement to reflect, reinvent, and innovate. In just three months they revolutionized customs and practices that would otherwise have taken years to change.

 

They poured time, money, and effort into launching projects to digitize their menus, reservation systems, and payment methods. Home delivery reached a new standard, creating culinary experiences that are a far cry from the usual fast-food takeout. They saw tremendous losses, but even so, they bounced back to give us their all.

 

Through their work, restaurant professionals weave commercial and emotional connections. They build bridges between us and local products and foods. During the past few months, the transport of goods faced huge challenges, which boosted the consumption of locally sourced products, turning a trend into a new and lasting reality.

 

Pictured, outdoor dining at the El Celleret Garden Restaurant (Pacs del Penedès)

 

 

The creative minds behind the best restaurants articulate our basic needs and desires and give them tangible form. They feed the body and soul. When people come for a visit, they welcome them, friendly faces who make guests from around the world feel at home. They create sensations that connect with something deeply rooted in our ancient reptilian brain. 

 

The moment has come (and the weather seems to agree) to book a table outdoors and rediscover the joys of eating at a restaurant. It’s a new reality, but we’re as eager for dining experiences as ever, if not more. New protocols mean we have to be more patient and conscious of others. A small price to pay for the chance to once again delight in excellent cuisine.

 

When the world came to a standstill, we were given an opportunity which we must seize—an opportunity to transform introspection and reflection into action, changing our behavior towards our fellow human beings and the natural environment. Dining establishments are pointing us in the right direction, but it is up to us to take the right path.

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