I’m constantly impressed by how resilient and adaptable the restaurant industry is, and in years to come, it will be fascinating to analyse how restaurants evolved during the different phases of lockdown.
At first when they were forced to close, after that terrible, paralysing moment of disbelief, they dusted themselves down to act as middlemen for all their suppliers, who were so suddenly deprived of their main source of revenue. You may not be able to eat in our restaurants, they said, but there’s no reason you can’t access the same quality of ingredients and do with them as you will at home. In those early days when many of us feared we’d never see a fully stocked supermarket shelf again, it was a life-saver.
More recently, they’ve found ways to get not just ingredients to their customers but finished dishes. I’m lucky, living in central(ish) London, to be able to get anything from fully prepared Michelin-quality meals to trays of fresh pasta and DIY pizza kits delivered to my door. Make one of my children dress up in a bow tie and light a few candles and most nights I could almost feel I was in a fancy restaurant.
Hopefully the next stage of limited opening, initially at outdoor tables, will be on the cards soon. Exciting times, and restaurants will all quite rightly want to shout about it.
As PRs it may not be as easy to get your voice heard as you’d hope though. Because when everyone is more or less following the same schedule, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd.
Now is the time to work with your clients and make a plan action, something which involves more than sending out a release to say “We’re open”.