How COVID is Changing Commercial Kitchens Forever
The world has made abrupt changes to adapt to the effect of the coronavirus pandemic, including countrywide lockdowns, the everyday use of face masks, and strict social distancing measures. Work-life has also changed, with many businesses being forced to close to help control the spread of the virus and work from home orders being put in place. On top of this, many people have lost their jobs.
While we may all someday hope for the world to return to the pre-pandemic state, the effects of COVID in a commercial kitchen are likely to be long lasting. So what exactly do these changes look like?
Increased Food Safety Measures
Undoubtedly, the pandemic has made everyone more hygiene-conscious. This has extended to food safety and hygiene, and now consumers are more concerned about how their food has been handled and where it comes from.
For restaurants, this means the use of disposable gloves will be much more strictly enforced amongst staff, as customers will want to see that their food is not being mishandled. If it is, this will likely lead to a higher number of complaints and loss of business, and so employers will take food safety increasingly seriously. Many venues will have refreshed their PPE requirements to make it safer both for customers and staff to include face masks or face visors, which will also likely stay post-pandemic.
On top of this, kitchens are likely to see a shift towards locally sourced products to reduce the risks of depending on foreign sources, bring accountability and transparency into the supply chain.
Rise of Take-Outs & Home Deliveries
Hospitality venues will also see a rise in takeaway food as customers increasingly enjoy restaurant-style food comfortably and socially distanced in their own homes.
Whereas many restaurants offered takeout food pre-pandemic, the biggest change this will have is for fine dining restaurants and chef-driven brands. These types of venues are unlikely to have offered a food-to-go option previously and may have already expanded their menus to include takeout, which will likely remain even after the pandemic.
Whereas many people have lost their jobs in hospitality because of COVID, it has not all been bad news. For those that have retained their jobs, many employers have raised the wages of employees to compensate for the increased risk that workers are facing by being on the front line.
It is notoriously difficult to lower wages after a pay rise, and so workers could continue to be paid more than before the pandemic. That being said, these high wages could head back to the old norm if levels of unemployment continue to increase.