At a time when the total number of coronavirus cases has crossed the 78,000 mark in India and with a national lockdown in place, restaurants have witnessed a drastic drop in footfall and revenue.
But some restaurants are functioning and catering to the food desires of locked down Indians through online ordering and door-step delivery services. The scare of contracting the virus, however, has pushed basic hygiene to the top of everybody’s priority list.
In order to calm the anxious nerves of food enthusiasts, some restaurants are adopting a new approach – live streaming their kitchens, which would allow customers to look for themselves, under what conditions their food orders are being prepared and packaged.
Elaborating on the vital importance of demonstrating the behind-the-door conditions of restaurant kitchens, Ashwin Jain, the founder of a Delhi-based pizza place called “InstaPizza”, told Sputnik that “transparency” is the key for restaurant businesses to survive the economic downfalls that have come along with COVID-19.
Recently, the national capital-based pizza chain became one of the first to live-stream their kitchen for customers. Taking a step forward, Jain has decided to make this livestream, smartly named “CrustFlix” -- a permanent feature of its services.
“We need to hold ourselves even more accountable to our own standards than we ever have. For example, if we say that kitchen deep sanitisation needs to happen every two hours on the dot from 9:30 AM, then it should happen with military precision at those times. I think this is a good thing,” Jain said.
Indian restaurants have begun to live-stream their kitchens on their websites -- to offer complete transparency to their customers who now, would not need to suffocate their fancy food cravings because of the Coronavirus scare.— Radhika Parashar (@_RadhikaReports) May 14, 2020
Good idea, right?@instapizzaindia pic.twitter.com/nKRPaEfxvw
Although, this live-streaming idea seems to be the need of the hour, it raises concerns of consent and privacy of the cooks and workers who are part of such restaurants that are adapting to this new technique.
Explaining the process of ensuring staff consent, Jain noted that in InstaPizza’s case, all the outlet managers were consulted and “everybody was excited” and totally on board.
“It is an innovative solution to communicate to our customers just how hard we are working to keep our teams, kitchens, and their food safe,” Jain added.
We are all suited up for your safety. Presenting The Trust Brigade, India's first hazmat wearing, ass kicking delivery fleet. Order what's safe. #lockdown #SaferAtHome #safety #InCrustWeTrusr #TheTrustBrigade pic.twitter.com/i9QlHZfKRA— Instapizza (@instapizzaindia) May 11, 2020
Under the lockdown, even online food ordering platforms in India like Swiggy and Zomato are adhering to a time-frame in which they are accepting and catering to orders.
Additionally, these platforms are also displaying information on the measures their restaurant and delivery partners are adhering to, while preparing and delivering food across the country.
@swiggy_in keeps customers informed about the safety measures its taking while ensuring piping hot and fancy restaurant-made food is reaching customers with necessary precautions and protections. pic.twitter.com/76zLF6IKod— Radhika Parashar (@_RadhikaReports) May 14, 2020
Contact-less deliveries, regular temperature checks, use of masks..gloves and sanitizers by everybody involved in the chain, @Zomato is also keeping its customers informed. pic.twitter.com/Q8orl5BOjf— Radhika Parashar (@_RadhikaReports) May 14, 2020
Since these new ideas are just about falling into place and making their way into the “new normalcy” – it is unclear whether or not the public would accept and begin to move on from the virus fear.
“We in the restaurant and food businesses hope that people give these new technological ideas a chance, because nobody knows, for how long will the virus stay. As of now, it’s a wait and watch situation, how new steps like live-streaming kitchen-workings which are being adopted by some eateries already is received by customers. Maybe the others will follow once the picture gets clearer,” Saksham Ahuja, a bakery-owner in Gurugram told Sputnik.
The revenue of India's flourishing online food delivery sector is expected to reach over $9.2 million in the coming months. Before the Coronavirus pandemic hit it was already growing at a rate of 9.5 percent per year.