Food and Drink

What’s Next for Restaurants and Bars?

Escapist interiors, spacious cafes, and open-air bars could be the lasting legacy of the coronavirus pandemic, says Roar trends report.

The report, which is the first of its kind, was carried out by Dubai-based interior design studio, Roar, in collaboration with 170 industry professionals, as well as group of nine experts. It aims to predict how the pandemic will change the design, layout and overall experience of restaurants, cafes, bars and public spaces in the short, medium and long-term. 

As shared by Dezeen, the report predicts a rise in escapist restaurant interiors, whilst suggesting that physical menus, cash payments and buffets will be largely abandoned. Using original and escapist design to create ‘slightly surreal’ and special experiences in restaurants could be ‘the lasting design legacy of the pandemic’, said one panellist.

‘Restaurateurs are not really asking for new spacing – but they are pushing for more originality’, the report states. ‘They know there will be fewer people dining out, so they are asking us to challenge the briefs they have given us, and asking for more originality’.  It also suggests that we will see more open kitchens after the pandemic, in order to promote transparency, ensuring customers and staff feel safe about their food preparation. It posits that surfaces built or clad in anti-microbial materials will also ‘be a given’.Instead of contactless, Roar predicts that ‘contact-light’ approaches will be the norm, with physical menus and cash payments becoming rare, if not extinct, alongside communal condiments like salt and pepper. 

The biggest change we’ll experience, it suggests, will be in communal toilets – where we may see the removal of most bathroom doors except private cubicles, with those remaining being opened and closed by foot or via wireless sensors. “Japanese-style robot WCs (replacing a new piece of paper over the seat after each visit) will go from novelties to must-have, although in the interim a packet of Dettol wipes may have to suffice” the report states. Customers will rarely, if ever, touch a tap, soap dispenser or hand dryer again. All this technology already exists, it’s simply a case of using it’.

In terms of food concepts, the report forecasts that buffet and sharing-style forms of eating will become a thing of the past. Roar argues that many of these trends were already in play prior to the pandemic, with the current situation simply accelerating changes, making them necessities, rather than design trends. 

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