Dining In While Dining Out
By Thomas Morrone, CFP®, CPA
Now that going out for a nice dinner or grabbing a quick burger seems to be an ancient memory, ordering take out is the closest experience available. Grabbing a pizza on the way home from work was a commonplace event in the past. Nowadays, how many times can you eat pizza? Or Chinese food? Unfortunately, many Chinese restaurants are closed, however, so that cuisine is scarce (although they are starting to reopen!). Just as we have had to adapt to this new normal, so has the entire restaurant industry. Who would have thought that cocktails-to-go would become a new trend!?
Many establishments have closed their doors entirely and made the difficult decision to wait out the social distancing restrictions in place in our area. Other restaurants have adapted and implemented take out ordering, curb side pick-up and home delivery on their own or utilizing services such as Grub Hub and Uber Eats. Many have never offered these types of services before other than the occasional “to go” type of order. The spirit of entrepreneurialism has motivated these business owners in these uncertain times to rise above adversity and to continue to make their menu available for patrons.
Ordering food to go is not the same as sitting at a table, ordering a cocktail and settling in for a dining experience. With the distancing and PPE requirements, it is like negotiating an obstacle course. There are the orange traffic cones, yellow police tape draped over poles to define walkways or to create separation. There is tape on the ground to signify the required 6-foot distances between you and the next person in line. Who would have ever thought that we would be having contactless food pickup and delivery? Pull up in front or by the curb, call the number, pop open your trunk, and someone places your food in your vehicle and off you go. Even payment happens without physical interaction. The creativity and efforts of business owners has been extraordinary. The ‘adapt or die’ philosophy is more vibrant than ever.
It’s even more interesting to see this trend expand beyond the casual restaurants into the world of fine dining, social or country clubs. While there have been the inevitable hiccups, the food is generally food is still great. It may be lacking in presentation or that just-out-of-the-kitchen freshness, but it’s better than cooking at home! Even better, you can get often order family style, complete with sides bread and dessert for 2-4 people.
Cathy and I have continued to support our local restaurants that we have often frequented in the past. We will get through this pandemic and we will be able to go out for dinner with friends and family once again. I am sure we all look forward to dining out………anywhere. With the warm weather rolling in and outdoor seating becoming more readily available, I hope that this is sooner rather than later for all of us.
Stay safe and continue to be vigilant.
Until the Next Tom’s Take…
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