Diners are set to be greeted by waiters wearing gloves and masks, sanitisation bottles at the entrance and far fewer tables in restaurants.
Upscale bars, cafes and restaurants are also training their staff to maintain a safe distance from the diners. As they put corona safety measures in place, eateries are going to space out tables and in many cases even halve the seating arrangement. Five-star hotels like Radisson and Roseate to upscale city restaurants have charted out post-lockdown plans.
High-end restaurants and bars like VietNom, Kampai - Plate & Pour, RYU and Karma Lakelands in Delhi and NCR have also worked out their post-lockdown strategies.
National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) Secretary-General Prakul Kumar said that the moment (COVID-19) cases were reported, advisories and guidelines were sent out on hygiene, cleanliness and social distancing.
"But then subsequently there was lockdown and everything was shut. When we open up, these norms are already known and would be followed," Kumar said.
He added that depending upon the evolving situation in future, precautionary measures would continue.
Sharing the possible change in the post lockdown days, Ankur Bhatia who runs the chain of Roseate Hotels said that 2-metre table distance would be a norm in the coming days.
"Only people from same family coming in group would be sharing the tables. Others would sit at a distance of about two metres which is going to be the norm post lockdown. Further, we will direct waiters to bring food but not serve at the tables as it has become a practice now at restaurants in many countries," he said.
Asked about the measures in place to deal with Corona risk post lockdown, Anirban Sarkar, General Manager at Radisson Blu, Greater Noida said that the hotel has already been taking several steps to ensure highest hygiene level.
"We are not letting our guests touch the doors and minimise the surface contact. The tables have been spread out. All table mats removed. We are not exposing crockery, cutlery or glass ware to reduce the chance of contamination. We are keeping it in safe cupboard and as and when required it will be brought and placed on the table. Of course all the tables are going to be cleaned with sanitisers and chlorinated water. All our cutlery is washed in dish-washers with effective soap solutions where water temperature is as high as 80 degree. When it comes to sanitisation and cleaning we are taking utmost care," he said.
Sarkar noted that the hotel has a microbiologist on the rolls for random swab tests of surfaces and kitchen. The tests are not to test individuals for coronavirus but to check overall level of hygiene and cleanliness. The swab samples are being taken from people cooking or serving or the surface they are working on, he added.
Hospitality sector has been one of the worst-affected service sectors due to Covid-19 and is expected to take longer than expected time to recover. As people would continue to avoid travel and crowded space in the post-lockdown days, the sector would see slow recovery.
In order to ensure that visitors feel safe while eating out, hotels and restaurants are taking several measures to make them at ease.
"We are carrying out sensitivity training across our teams, and modified body language models to include maintaining a healthy distance, this could mean reducing the number of tables and in turn, hoping to propel the feeling of safety amongst our diners," said Drasty Shah, Founder of The Project Cafe (Goa & Ahmedabad).
Anjali Mohan, Chef and Director at Danbro, Artisanal Boulangerie and Patisserie, New Delhi said that the way we treat our customers will be sincerely changed after this pandemic.
"Maintaining health and hygiene at the cafe will be our top priority. The walk-in guests are expected to be shaky and a little paranoid. We will therefore still maintain some distancing by reducing the seating capacity from 40 to 20, setting up tables far from each other so that people can enjoy their meals peacefully," said Mohan.
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