When we eventually return to hotels and cruise ships after COVID-19 , will the buffet get left behind as an unsanitary relic of culinary history?
Considering the current way of the world, it’s looking like a solid probably.
The Four Seasons in New York has been testing ways to reduce social contact for hospitality’s “new normal”
“We removed minibars, excess hangers, excess linens, we took extra pillows out, so there are four per room, instead of six,” general manager Rudy Tauscher told NBC.
While he admitted that room service wasn’t exactly earmarked for a bright future, he was more doubtful over the return of the buffet.
“I think it’s safe to say that breakfast buffets and communal tables and the kinds of things that had been traditions at many hotels are going away, for who knows how long,” he said.
Hotels, particularly cruise liners, may also consider a more stringent process when guests check-in or embark, including temperature checks and other health assessments and even welcome kits with PPE equipment like gloves and masks and even keyless rooms as standard.
Guests might instead be provided with picnic baskets instead of the breakfast buffet, which can be part of the experience for holidaymakers. I mean, who hasn’t saved a few bucks by totally filling-up on the epic breaky buffet at their Bali resort before not eating for the rest of the day? It can’t just be me, surely.
Hotel Association of Turkey chairman Müberra Eresin said that while guests tended to favour the buffet, considering the current situation, “the buffet cannot be preferred” going forward.
Then you have regular nosheries like Sizzler, where the buffet is their schtick. It’s more their cheesy toast but you get me.
It wasn’t so long ago that even Pizza Hut were musing about the return of their all-you-can-eat restaurant model from the ‘80s.
But what about the newer kinds of buffet? The trendy charcuterie board or the so-hot-right-now grazing table?
Will our future selves look back and wonder exactly what kind of animals we were to eat in such a communal, bare-handed way… and was the guy who gave George Costanza a hard time right all along?