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Will restaurants of the future still need a dining room?

It does not seem the coronavirus is leaving us soon, although we have seen good   progress in developing the vaccine . In recent weeks, many places reported   a surge of new infected COVID-19 cases . Some even resumed   lockdowns   and the mask-mandate order, forcing restaurants to   shut down indoor dining   services again.     As a short-term remedy, restaurants immediately shifted their offering to   curbside pickup and delivery  services. Meanwhile, restaurants are testing new concepts to embrace the   contactless self-service  trend for the future. Here are some examples,     Chipotle opened its first digital-only restaurant     The new prototype, known as the   Chipotle Digital Kitchen , debut in Highland Falls, NY, earlier this month. Different from the traditional Chipotle restaurant, the Chipotle Digital Kitchen features:     A lobby designated for pickup services through off-premise orders.   A see-through kitchen, allowing customers to see, smell, and hear what is going on b
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The pandemic does not stop hotels from doing hospitable acts - Healthcare workers find home in hotels (By Adrian P. Laksmono)

It is no surprise that people have stepped up to help friends, strangers, neighbors, and even colleagues during the pandemic. We can see this, especially in the hospitality industry. The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) represents the U.S. lodging industry, and they have been at the top of their game with response efforts.   AHLA launched a program called Hospitality for Hope . Hospitality for Hope caters to the essential healthcare workers by giving them a place to stay. Many of those who are traveling to help the different cities with COVID-19 cases are seeing a shortage of rooms.   By coordinating with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, state, local, and the federal government created a database of hotel properties near healthcare facilities and hospitals willing to open their rooms.   So far, 17,000+ hotels have participated in Hospitality for Hope. There have been 2.3 M room nights that were available on a discounted rate or complimentary

Microenterprise home kitchen operations gains traction in California during COVID-19 (By Jacob Fry)

On September 18 th , 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 626 , which became effective in January of 2019. This law formally allowed cities and counties to legalize microenterprise home kitchen operations across the state of California. As of January 2020, only Riverside county had adopted AB 626, but the pressure is mounting for more counties, specifically Los Angeles and San Bernardino, to adopt it as well. CA Assembly Bill 626 CA Assembly Bill 626 passed with bipartisan support and allowed chefs and home cooks to start small operations out of their homes known as a microenterprise home kitchen operation, or MEHKO. These operations can choose delivery, take-out, or dine-in options . Cooks wanting to start a home kitchen must go through a permitting process, pass health inspections, and can only generate up to $50,000 in gross sales annually. Though gross sales are capped annually, being able to earn up to $50,000 annually with a roughly $1,0

Can leisure and work-from-home demand stimulate extended-stay hotel growth beyond COVID-19?

The lodging industry is   struggling   to fill the empty rooms in 2020. For months, U.S. hotels are running at an occupancy of 50% or lower.     Not every segment   suffers the same impact from the pandemic, however. Demand for   home-sharing  facilities had already bounced back over the summer. Airbnb reported a higher booking than last year. Marriott’s home-sharing arm is also doing well, seeing a sevenfold increase in booking over last summer.     Similar to what a residential rental or home-sharing facility   offers , guestrooms in extended-stay hotels also feature a full-size kitchen or a kitchenette. Extended-stay hotels are designed for travelers who want to stay at a “home” when away from home. A guestroom at the Residence Inn Miami Sunny Isles Beach   Extended-stay hotels vs. home-sharing facilities     Because COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through direct or indirect human contacts, people are highly encouraged to avoid unnecessary human interactions, leading to more   con

As more companies let employees work from home permanently, what is the outlook of business travel?

When the pandemic hit the global economy in March, business travel was estimated to lose $820 billion in revenue. Under the best scenario, businesses were expected to reopen in late spring or early summer . As we entered into the summer, indicators showed travel and hospitality businesses were picking up, but we all knew travel recovery would not occur until people are taking business trips again. “ Travel, as we knew it, is over ,” concluded by Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. Now in October, we still have not contained the coronavirus. To make it worse, new COVID-19 cases now surge again across the US and Europe. More companies let employees work from home permanently Many states and countries have already lifted the stay-at-home orders in May. Schools and companies are taking a different stand, however. For example, Twitter was the first U.S. major company that announced its permanent work-from-home plan in May. Pinterest canceled a lease in an unbuilt project in San Francisco with a

Will outdoor dining become a norm? (By Jacob Fry)

COVID-19 has created an unprecedented scenario for many American industries, and the restaurant industry is no different. With restaurants being forced to close their in-person dining across the country, many restaurants saw a downturn in business. Now, six months after the pandemic first hit America, restaurants across multiple states are only allowed to serve customers outside. This has raised the question, will outdoor dining become the norm in places where it can be utilized? COVID-19 Impact on the Restaurant Industry When the COVID-19 pandemic first started back in March 2020, many restaurants were forced to close their in-person dining. OpenTable reported a 42% drop in reservations by mid-March and grocery delivery apps saw a 215% increase by mid-March, showing the drastic shift from eating out to cooking at home. Restaurants then saw a 54% decline in revenue, creating a huge hit to many small, independent restaurants. By mid-May, most states had released guidelines for partial o

Will Amazon’s new palm recognition become the next popular biometric technology?

Amazon recently introduced a  new biometric payment device , Amazon One, in two of its Go stores in Seattle. Shoppers can now enter and pay at cashier-free  Amazon Go  stores by scanning their palms. The company opened its first Amazon Go store in Seattle to the public in  January 2018 . Currently, Amazon operates  21 Go stores  in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, with five temporarily closed. Unlike a typical grocery store, Amazon Go offers grab-and-go, ready-to-eat snacks, breakfast, and lunch options for shoppers. Shopping at Amazon Go can be as easy as walking in and out of the store. After consumers download the Amazon Go app and link the account with a form of payment, they can: Walk into the store by scanning the Amazon Go app. Grab the items wanted. Walk out of the store. Be charged through the Amazon Go app. How Amazon One works Amazon One  works similarly to the Amazon Go app. To  sign up , shoppers will need a credit card, a mobile number, and of course, their