• Restaurants Reopen with New Strategies for Success and Safety

  • Restaurants Reopen with New Strategies for Success and Safety

    Restaurants Reopen with New Strategies for Success and Safety

    As Winter Park restaurants reopen and gear up for a special weekend of socially distant dining outside on Park, Morse and New England Avenues, chefs and owners are adapting to the lessons they’ve learned during the pandemic and advice from their counterparts near and far.

    Restaurants around the United States and the globe are adopting new strategies to serve customers amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Safety measures like masks, gloves and socially distanced tables are becoming standard.

    Some restaurants have changed their menus to adapt to societal changes. World-renowned restaurants like Noma in Stockholm catered to a mostly international tourist crowd. With tourists locked down or afraid to travel, chefs and owners have seen an increase in business from local patrons who have different tastes. Instead of an elaborate five-hour multicourse meal, most want a simpler menu that lets them enjoy simple but great food and time with family and close friends.

    Restaurants are also expecting diners to want fewer sharable dishes. Takeout and delivery, which was once an afterthought for many restaurants, are expected to continue for the foreseeable future and will help restaurants survive.

    Craft cocktails, wine and craft beer to go have been a welcome new offering. Some restaurant owners say that if alcohol laws are tightened again and prohibit this practice, they plan to offer mixers, fruit and recipes to go sans the alcohol, which customers can add at home. Boxed lunches and dinners are also expected to be a big draw. And restauranteurs are taking a close look at their menus and order data to help trim waste and excess inventory each week. Revamping menus to cut complicated items helps trim prep time and save money.

    • Masks, gloves, temperature checks for staff
    • Tables spaced out 6 feet apart
    • More tables outside
    • Simpler meals that require less preparation time and fewer people in the kitchen
    • Cocktails, wine and craft beer to go; mixers, fresh fruit and cocktail recipes to go if alcohol laws are tightened
    • Boxed meals to go
    • Continuation of curbside takeout and delivery
    • Evaluation of sales and ordering data to trim waste
    Here in Winter Park, our restaurant owners and chefs agree that they have implemented new strategies and ideas to better serve their customers. Vincent Gagliano, chef and owner of Chez Vincent & Hannibal’s on the Square, says he has spread out his tables inside and outside to accommodate social-distancing requirements, and has purchased new outdoor chairs, and added planters and flowers to the outside dining area to make the experience as aesthetically pleasing as possible. He is also requiring all staff to wear masks during their shifts and check temperatures when they arrive. He is also providing disposable paper menus as an additional safety measure. The customers have started coming back, and Gagliano says they are very happy to be able to dine out again.

    Chelsea Savage, owner of Proper & Wild in Winter Park as well as The Sanctum Café in Orlando and Altamonte Springs, had a revolutionary vision to shift her business model and help customers and vendors. Her customers wanted high-quality produce without going into grocery stores, and produce vendors needed customers. Savage said growers and vendors reported up to a 95% loss of their business when restaurants stopped ordering and local farmer’s markets closed. But her customers more than ever wanted healthy food to feed themselves and their families and to help boost their immune systems. Savage created a virtual farmer’s market that sources and packages hundreds of custom orders each week. Customers can go to her Real Damn Good Food website, pick the items in stock they want, pay online and then pick up curbside on Wednesdays and/or Saturdays. Savage is also selling her popular salad dressings and sauces, plus offering recipes for customers to create the healthy and delicious dishes she is known for. “It’s opened our eyes to a whole new way to support the community,” says Savage.

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