As restaurants slowly begin to reopen across America, don't expect crowded tables or waiting at the bar for your table to be ready. The experience will be different. It’s recommended that we continue social distancing, and to control the flow of foot traffic, reservations and curbside food pickup will become a huge part of that.
To help diners adapt to ordering takeout, Yelp is allowing companies to highlight if they're offering curbside pickup and have made curbside pickup a searchable term in the app so people can easily find restaurants offering the service.
The company says restaurants including Chili’s have also been using the wait list feature to control curbside traffic and indoor capacity, going as far as adding “table numbers” to parking spots, allowing customers to safely wait in their cars until their takeout order or dine-in table is ready.
Yelp isn't the only service adapting for the coronavirus era. In a new release from Resy, the app announced it will be rolling out new features to cater to the new realities of dining including a Mobile Waitlist for diners to join so that they don’t overcrowd waiting areas and Resy at Home for a meal ordering and contactless pickup. Resy will also add an Automated Capacity Monitor for restaurants that allows them to set a capacity limit on their dining room to make sure they don’t exceed regulations. Meanwhile, OpenTable has launched reservations for grocery stores to limit traffic.
Some states like Texas have already allowed restaurants to reopen, but it's unclear when more will follow. For a roundabout idea, here is when each state could consider easing coronavirus social distancing, according to a study.