There’s a lot of pop psychology out there about the shared meal—it’s supposed to help young and old enjoy conversation, create bonds, spark ideas, heal breaches and conflicts, even indicate what type of person one is based on one’s appetite.
Regardless of what sharing a meal was supposed to teach and tell us, the experience of eating out hadn’t really changed in decades—until restaurants were closed for months in government-mandated lockdowns to prevent the spread of covid-19, forcing those who had always eaten out to find new ways to feed themselves. For restaurants and bars, too, it became imperative to find new ways to get food to customers and keep head above water.
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A year and a half on, which of these changes are here to stay? The Lounge team spoke to restaurateurs, chefs and hospitality consultants to spot trends that are likely to forever change the way we eat out.
Shutdowns, restrictions, broken supply lines, social distancing, staff shortages may come and go as the coronavirus caseload rises and falls—this is something the industry has accepted. Many of their coping mechanisms have ended up transforming the Indian hospitality industry, whether it’s the darshini at the corner or the formal fine-dining halls of luxury hotels. In some cases, the refinements have improved the dining experience (waiters no longer hover anxiously), others are plain infuriating (online menus that are miserably designed and rarely load properly), but the pandemic challenges have had an impact on how we think about what we eat.
And if you are among the few who are still not eating out—though the crowds on the streets and in bars and cafés make it seem like that’s unlikely—our food page has tips and tricks to turn home fare into a restaurant-worthy meal. And as always, we have recommendations for what to watch, read, do and enjoy this weekend.
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