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15 operational changes brought to onsite dining by COVID-19

The past year forced onsite dining programs into making a number of operational changes that may outlast the pandemic, sometimes because they are improvements over how things were done previously and sometimes because they meet changed long-term circumstances.

The crisis that struck the country a year ago forced onsite dining programs to make a number of changes in how they operated, either due to safety considerations, changes in customer behaviors or regulatory mandates. Some of the changes, such as eliminating self-service stations, may be temporary, while others, such as more grab and go and more remote ordering, promise to be fairly permanent.

Two areas where the changes are likely to have beneficial results going forward are the development of new business lines, such as take-home meal kits that were created to help make up for lost business in more traditional areas of operation, and the deployment of technology.

Over the past year, Food Management has followed these developments, reporting on creative new ways operators in the various markets we cover have met the challenge of functioning effectively under all the restrictions the pandemic imposed on them. Some of the innovations have been market specific, such as the home-delivered meals to remote-learning K-12 students or the room delivery models developed by senior living communities to serve locked down residents. Others, such as remote ordering and meal delivery, have application across various markets.

Here in no particular order is a gallery of some of the operational innovations onsite dining has either developed from scratch or refined from previously underutilized methods.


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