Studio Osmosis’ reinvention for restaurants during and post COVID-19 times
The architecture studio proposes a design strategy that fosters a sense of community and encourages transparency in social spaces
The lockdown is slowly lifting up and we are gearing towards normalcy. Humans like most mammals exhibit social behaviour. We like to gather, interact, communicate and socialise. This pandemic has forced us to question that very nature and has forced us to do that one thing that we inherently cannot — social (physical) distancing. The restaurant industry is suffering a major setback due to the current situation and it’s important to plan the future. After all, it employs millions and is directly linked to other ancillary industries such as farming, food production, logistics and many others.
While internationally many ideas have been proposed for restaurants with outdoor access, most of these ideas do not apply to the majority of restaurants in our cities, since many establishments here lack the much-needed outdoor spaces. At Studio Osmosis, we decided to take up an existing indoor restaurant project as a case study with local relevant conditions and propose a planning- and operation-based SOP (standard operating procedure) with minimal interventions and cost.
The big idea is to develop trust in customers, foster a sense of community and encourage transparency, while also eliminating fear and ensuring safety. Hygiene will be of the utmost concern and, hence, these interventions would be required to be done physically and operationally so that the customers and the fraternity can bounce back, share ideas, feel safe emotionally and, thereby, revive the industry we all love so much.
But more importantly this message needs to be spread out digitally to each and every patron. Take it as a mandate to spread awareness on health check protocols, hygiene ratings and SOPs and complete transparency to promote a sense of safety and defeat fear.
Currently, kitchens, right from fine dine to others, are open for contactless deliveries to extend an in-home dining experience, which helps the brand to stay connected with their customers. While all levels of personalisation are possible, people are anxious to resume visiting their favourite restaurants, reconnect with friends, savour delectable cuisines and enjoy the user-experience in real rather than virtual. We believe that restaurants should include these following aspects on a temporary/ permanent basis to fight the current situation:
- Staff and customer entry
- Health and hygiene
- Interior layout for physical distancing and planning for increased cover layouts as time goes by
- Food preparation and back of house
- Operation ideas which work around scheduling eating cycles and slots
- Use of technology for understanding customer preferences, allergies for faster turnarounds
- Automation and touchless equipment and hardware
- Cloud touchless deliveries
- Death of shared tableware/ food products/ buffets
- Use of indoor plants and sustainable disposable cutlery