Al fresco dining, servers wearing gloves and masks, tables spaced six feet apart, and stuffed animals or plants to prevent diners from sitting too close to each other—these have become the “new normal” in dining.
They could be Band-Aid solutions for now, but they could remain permanent features. Eric Dee of the FooDee Global Food Concepts knows that the future will demand more safety and health protocols.As president and chief operating officer of the food and beverage group that brought in international brands Tim Ho Wan, llao llao and Kam’s Roast, Dee must be quick to adapt to trying times. Apart from installing state-of-the-art UV technology, cashless payments and electronic menus in his restaurants, he has also streamlined his cooking operations to minimize contact among kitchen staff. He is working with Michael and Deneice Chan of CY Designs on a restaurant blueprint to ease the worries and concerns of diners.
In the blueprint, customers are welcomed in a disinfection area where shoes will be sterilized, hands sanitized and body temperature checked.
They will be led to assigned seats, passing a hall lined with far-UVC (ultraviolet C) light posts, which stop the spread of airborne-mediated microbial diseases. The light is safe for human exposure.
Sit-down guests will be stationed in contained spaces—pods big enough for individual diner or small group. The pods open and close with an acrylic sliding door, which limits contact with guests walking by.
QR code menu
In the room is a QR code that will allow people access to the menu. There will be a mist spray system to sanitize the dining area soon as diners leave, and overhead are open slats to allow ventilation.
The table will also have a folding acrylic divider that can be used or removed depending on the guest’s preference.
There will be no waiter to jot down orders and bring in dishes. Instead, diners use their mobile phones to place orders, which will be delivered to the pod through a conveyor belt to achieve contactless serving.
On their way to diners, plates pass through far-UVC lights for sterilization.
The kitchen will have an open layout for transparency so that diners can watch the food preparation from their pods. An acrylic divider separates diners from the chefs.
Before leaving the restaurant, diners are ushered to the wash area next to the exit.
“Foodee has been spearheading safety as priority but, believe it or not, our extra safety measures have not always been perceived as good,” said Dee. “As innovators in this field, we consider it our duty to educate consumers on what the new world order will be. We can only hope that these added features can restore consumer confidence and allow diners to reduce their fears about eating out, so they can dine again without anxiety, just like the good old days.” —CONTRIBUTED