For many people, the concept of eating out is not merely about the exotic restaurant food that would usually taste different (better) from home-cooked food. During this pandemic, many restaurants still operate on a take-out or delivery basis, but people miss easting “out”. Sitting in a communal atmosphere, seeing the faces of other people and enjoying the scenery and their food while conservations drift through your ears. Sadly, restaurants have been ruled as potentially hazardous locations since they tend to attract large crowds.
Since it remains unknown how long the COVID-19 crisis will be with us, it’s in every entrepreneur’s best interest to begin adapting and redefining their business strategies. An innovative restaurant in Amsterdam has come up with a smart solution to the problem of dining publicly in a pandemic without putting their patrons at risk. The diners are ushered into their own little greenhouses to enjoy their meals privately, cordoned off from other people although you can still see everyone and take in the beautiful waterside scenery .
The Serres Séparées (meaning “separate greenhouses” in French) was invented by the ETEN restaurant at Amsterdam’s Mediamatic arts center, located in the Oosterdok neighborhood. The vegan restaurant is still in the trial stages of the greenhouse dining project, but they are hoping to receive the government’s approval and make things official as soon as possible.
Don’t throw stones in a glass house – eat in it
Currently, the Serres Séparées has five glass domes located by the beautiful Dijksgracht canal-side and lit only by candles. Two to three diners can sit in one dome at the same time and enjoy a four-course plant-based meal, as the restaurant hopes to serve when they officially open.
So far, they’ve test-run the project twice, on April 27 and on May 5. The patrons sat in their lovely little glasshouses and were served through the door at safe distances by waiters who wore face shields and black gloves. The dishes were placed on long wooden planks on which they were slid down to the diners. The entire set-up allows for zero physical contact with any other person in the area. Only people who live in the same house are allowed to share a dome at the restaurant.
“At Mediamatic we’re designing and testing new safe hospitality,” the art center wrote on its website . “Later this year we will serve our visitors amazing plant-based dinners in their own little greenhouse.”
In an interview with NL Times, Mediamatic’s founding partner, Willem Velthoven says that the public reception has been encouraging so far .
“This was one of the most feasible ideas from a large list of ideas we had when brainstorming,” Velthoven said. “We only had tickets for June and the last week of May online and they are now all sold out.”
“We have other, bigger greenhouses, but using them depends on how everything ends up going,” Velthoven continued. “Bigger groups could [come] now but then they should be families. For now, bigger groups are being discouraged because, from our experience, they are just louder and then you get the excited behavior causing spittle to fly and so on, and that’s the kind of behavior that would make the virus spread faster.”
Other pandemic-management strategies from around the world
The world has to go on, somehow. Many businesses around the world are coming up with ways to restructure their operational tactics and still be able to serve their customers in these difficult times.
A popular Houston-based bar, Bovine & Barley recently came up with the “Adult Ice Cream Truck” to deliver frozen and fizzy cocktails to patrons in their homes . They offer a wide range of summer delights such as margaritas, mojitos, Pina Coladas, and small chops, all at affordable prices. The truck has been so well-received that people outside the delivery areas and in other states are demanding other restaurants to pick up the pace.
Drive-in movie theaters have been around for a long time, being promoted as a way to enjoy movies from the comfort of your vehicle. Movie-watchers would purchase tickets and park their cars outside in a lot to watch a movie on a screen upfront. These out-door theaters haven’t always been the public favorite, but a lot has changed in the past few months. Since the pandemic broke out and regular theaters have had to close down, drive-in theaters have become the perfect solution to dealing with quarantine boredom, and many business owners in the line have seen exponential surges in ticket sales .
A city in Denmark recently held its first drive-in concert, organized by popular Danish singer Mads Langer . Hundreds of fans bought tickets (which sold out almost immediately) and pulled into an expansive lot outside the city in an orderly manner. All windows were boarded up while the fans tuned in on their FM radios to listen to Langer playing on the stage.
Humans are the most adaptable species on earth, and no matter what comes our way and how long it plans to stay, we’ll always prevail.
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