Covid 19 Security Screens

Coronavirus illustration.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected virtually all areas of life. But probably no sector has been more severely affected than the hospitality sector. After staying closed for months, restaurants are slowly adapting to the ‘new normal’ in a post-lockdown state. But besides the short-term changes, there is a lingering sense that we will have to redefine what ‘normal’ means in a post-pandemic world. So if you are wondering what comes next in restaurant design, this article is for you. From short-term changes and design best practices, we discuss the future of restaurant design after COVID-19.

For any successful businessman, the safety of workers and customers should be a top priority. Restaurants and bars can easily become a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria to spread. As a result, restaurant owners needed to adapt their venues to new standards as lockdowns around the world eased. While the short-term implications of the pandemic ae clear, we need to contemplate how we can create better restaurant designs in a post-coronavirus state.

What will restaurant design look like after COVID-19?

The UK government has allowed restaurants to reopen starting July 4. Nonetheless, the reopening day was distinctively different from what we would call ‘business as usual’. And just like people are asking whether life will revert return to normal after COVID-19, many restaurant owners also wonder what the long-term implications of the pandemic will be on their businesses. So what will restaurant design look like after COVID-19 ends?

Just like there has been widespread confusion and uncertainty during the pandemic, it is hard to predict with certainty what the long-term effects of the pandemic will be. Even so, experts agree that some of the short-term changes we see today will stay in place for a while. As such, in the coming months, there will be an increased focus on sanitation, social distancing and stricter clearing regiments.

Bur besides these changes, we can probably expect more profound ones to come as well. As such, we will likely see more emphasis on contactless dining and a proliferation of online menus and ordering. So what will the future of restaurant design look like after COVID-19? Let’s explore.

Social distancing and layout changes

Social distancing is one of the key changes we see in restaurant design in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Providing adequate space for patrons during their visit is one of the most efficient ways of reducing the risk of infection. As a result, most restaurants had to significantly reduce their seating capacity. But is this a change that is likely to become integral to restaurant design after COVID-19?

Most experts agree that space-restrictions will be short-lived. Still, we will probably see many restaurants reconsider their space planning and seating designs after COVID-19. In the long run, we will likely see fewer restaurants packed with tables and chairs. Along with that, we can expect a rise in the use of partitions and more private seating areas. All that will give diner more space and air to breath, leading to a better dining experience overall.

Contactless Experiences & Increased Use of Technology

Even before the pandemic, we could see an increase in the use of digital technologies in restaurants. After COVID-19, however, the integration of various technologies will likely continue to expand. Contactless payments, online menus and ordering will become integral to the dining experience. In turn, these technologies will help make dining safer, easier and more efficient.

Sticker on the table of a restaurant for placing orders during covid-19.

So after COVID-19, we can expect to see a rise in creating new, more digital restaurant designs. Cash payments, physical menus will probably become largely abandoned. In their space, we will see QR codes printed on tables that allow people to access menus and order meals using dedicated apps on their phones. Online payments using phones will also likely become a popular trend.

New shapes, materials & forms

Restaurants are high-traffic areas with many high touch surfaces. Cleaning and sanitising all surfaces patrons come into contact with has now become more important than ever. To make seating easier, we will most likely see a change in the materials, textures and shapes used in restaurant design after COVID-19.

After the pandemic, we might see a stronger preference for simpler forms and geometric lines. Along with that, anti-microbial surfaces that allow for better sanitation inside the dining room will probably become the norm. Overall, expect to see simpler and less sophisticated designs that exclude excessive ornamentation.

Blurring the boundary between indoor and outdoor space

In the wake of the coronavirus, restaurants had to significantly reduce their seating capacity. Along with that, we saw an increase in the need to extend dining spaces into the exterior. Dining areas have been set up on outdoor patios, rooftops, alleys, sidewall or even parking lots. While the change might be temporary, there are some signs that we will see restaurants extend towards the exterior more in the coming years.

After COVID-19, we will likely see a redefinition in restaurant design of what indoor and outdoor space means. Eliminating the boundary between indoor dining space and extending towards the exterior will allow restaurants to operate at a larger capacity, while also promoting open-space dining. Creating semi-open restaurant designs, with sliding roofs or rooftop and outdoor dining spaces with heat lamps will allow restaurants to continue offering exquisite dining experiences even during the colder season.

Are you ready for a new era of restaurant design after COVID-19?

Many of the changes we see in restaurant design after the COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting effect on what it means to create efficient, aesthetic and functional designs. While predicting with absolute certainty which changes are likely to stay is challenging, a few trends seem to emerge.

Most restaurants managed to successfully adapt to the newly prioritised consideration of restaurant design. Still, it is crucial to stay ahead of time and prepare for the likely outcomes and changes in terms of design, sanitation and safety of customers. We hope that our post today help you identify the changes and trends in restaurant design you might want to pay attention to. And if you need help redesigning your restaurant, you can always contact our team at Contrast Interiors for help.

We have extensive experience in creating aesthetic and functional designs. Our skilled team of designers, architects and shopfitters are ready to help you adapt to new trends. Offering services in all areas of restaurant design and fit-out, we can transform your restaurant so it is better aligned with the changed realities of restaurant design. Using bespoke restaurant furniture, easy-to-sanitise materials and clever design solutions, we create flexible designs that match your precise needs. Contact us today for a free consultation.