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Restaurants After the Pandemic: What happens whit the gastronomic experience? 1st Part

Tourism, entertainment, hospitality and gastronomy are industries that are being hit directly by the effects of the pandemic. Socializing in times of pandemic is compromising personal health and that of others. The life changes that await us in the days, months and perhaps years to come, will modify the behavior and contact between people and consequently social activities. Design is no exception, architects and designers are facing an uncertain future, but full of opportunities. The challenge is relevant and compromising in all areas, but particularly that of entertainment and gastronomy.

We must think of all kind of environments, eating activities and habits, from common areas of a house, such as kitchen, dining room and terrace; to spaces that have been transformed into food consumption areas such as TV room, bedroom and work desk. Life changes have been dramatic for a vast majority of people the confinement and social isolation have caused the loss of sense of time, affecting their circadian rhythm, and causing ambiguity about work hours, rest and of course the time we spend to enjoy life, eat or even digest our food.

Starting from the most intimate premise of spaces to eat at home, it is also our responsibility to understand what will happen to public spaces and food consumption in the social sphere and in relation to the hygiene and functionality measures that will be subject to regulations in response to the pandemic, and for the forced disintegration of common coexistence when it comes to sharing food between people and the gastronomic experience.

Designers and architects are facing a challenge and opportunities for exploration and experimentation on the various factors that will be affecting the gastronomic industry in the immediate future. The main objective of the designs of new gastronomic spaces will point to solutions that should optimize spaces and profitability according to diners in a given area and review the implications and health measures that allow restaurants to offer security in regarding food consumption and against infection agents through new food-grade materials.

As designers we have to assess the changes that will come and will also mark the rules of etiquette for the consumption of food in spaces in the near future, in addition to an urgent review of the morphology and organization of the functions of the restaurant, and where coexistence close and intimate of people must avoid forms of contagion and the spread of disease.

Knowing that the food industry was already considered by health institutions as one of the sources of contagion for gastrointestinal diseases and infections, we cannot ignore the new regulations on the use of materials and surfaces for hygiene in food preparation. Now the formulation goes beyond the degree of food quality that a material can offer, but rather a proposal of materials and sanitation products that can guarantee the health of diners. In addition to this factor, we will have to evaluate the functions of the spaces, the social distance and the organization of the furniture, the circulation measures, the cleaning and sanitizing areas a priori at the entrance of the dining room, and of course make an evaluation of the feasibility of the consumption spaces with respect to new business models compared to their occupation and profitability.

With this in mind we want to explore the design and the relationship between the changes of functions, the preparation of food, the furniture, the forms of consumption and social label that will change the future of the space of food consumption, and what will be the "New Normal ”For the design of restaurants, bars, foodcourts, terraces, parks and, of course, street food stalls.

The questions are many. What are the main changes in restaurant environments? How will segregation affect where the number of diners is directly related to the occupation in the space, and where the profitability of these businesses is at stake? Will we have sanitation regulations that will affect the occupations, shapes, furniture and even sizes of premises of restaurants and bars? People go to bars and restaurants to see and be seen. How will the experience be affected? What will be the norms of social and public coexistence in times of pandemic? This and many questions will continue to arise and as designers and architects we will have to visualize the changes in the work of design, but above all, visualize and contemplate a future of well-being for people.

We want to invite you to be part of the project, write to us, and let's start a dialogue about the paradigms of our immediate future and gastronomic social coexistence. What can we do to design future gastronomic spaces without social coexistence being reduced or compromised with distance? What do you think? What ideas come to mind?

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