We continue to ride the wave of dark kitchens, an initiative that undoubtedly offers safety and timely service to consumers and restaurant owners in this historical period. 

Although takeaway and delivery (and dark kitchens) have reached the peak of their expansion between the start of the pandemic and today, it is almost certain that the phenomenon will persist even after the pandemic. 

In the lockdown and emergency period, in which restaurants were closed or opened only with stringent conditions,  as we all know the most important aspect to protect was health. Already at the beginning of the pandemic, restaurant owners began to readjust the premises according to the various government provisions in terms of health, safety and hygiene, in order to offer the customer a safe place and thus work without health risks.

Even today, where the pandemic situation seems to no longer be an emergency, it is essential that all consumer protection regulations are respected. 

Starting from the strict health and hygiene rules, which must be promptly accepted by restaurant owners, up to the packaging, which must be adequate for the service to maintain the quality of the dish and its health safety, consumers - and catering operators - must be sageguarded by clear and transparent rules.

What will happen in 2022, after the numerous changes

that catering has already faced in the last two years?

In addition to a reorganisation of the spaces in order to guarantee interpersonal distance, the adaptation of the new health and hygiene regulations on the instruments and the continuous sanitation of the premises, it has become a priority to invest in the ventilation of closed spaces. The so-called “right to clean air” that is debated for years by talking about smog and pollution, today takes on a new declination and the concept is also transferred and applied to catering.

Insiders and consumers have the right to enjoy the experience at the restaurant or pizzeria by breathing air free from pathogens and bacteria, especially in this fragile historical moment. Precisely closed environments are the places where the risk of contagion is highest, considering that it occurs by air transmission.

Many companies in the sector have rolled up their sleeves to improve and perfect existing machinery and systems to adapt them to the need to offer total sanitation of the environments. Many restaurants have adopted concrete and high-level solutions in terms of effectiveness, safety and high environmental value, selecting products and technologies for energy efficiency.

As we all know, the virus floats in the air in the form of very small droplets, which can last several minutes before settling on the ground. As scientific studies show and as indicated by the World Health Organisation, the  chances of inhaling the virus in a closed place and becoming infected in those few minutes in which the droplets remain in the air are very high. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly marked us, leading to an increase in the level of cleanliness and hygiene to increase the safety of every diner inside a restaurant. Hand washing is - even more so - extremely essential to protect yourself from the virus and all the inflexible policies introduced by governments are necessary to make customers and workers feel safe. 

What to expect, then, in 2022?

A new way of experiencing catering with the help of technologies that help and promote the safety of environments for greater peace of mind for diners and operators. A recent survey showed that most of the people interviewed, of different age groups, are oriented to having meals in restaurants only against strict hygiene rules. Among these, the usual security measures imposed to combat the pandemic are some of the first things that customers notice when they enter a restaurant. Adopting cleaning and safety policies that are always accurate and precise is therefore essential to offer customers and employees a safe, quiet and risk-free experience in their restaurants.

Masks, gloves, gel dispensers, sanitation and hygiene procedures of all contact surfaces are now fundamental and indispensable requirements for every restaurant and alike. Many restaurateurs and owners have been forced to rethink their premises and reorganise spaces, positioning the tables at a certain distance from each other and scaling the number of seats indoors. This is how many places have equipped themselves with seats outdoors, comfortable in the summer both to be able to accommodate customers in the open air and to recover the seats cut inside the restaurant.

We can therefore note how many of the innovations that will characterise (and have characterised) the catering of 2022 are linked to safety and health regulations and not only concern the hygienic aspects of the premises, but also the concept of the restaurant itself. This also offered "the opportunity" to many restaurateurs to reorganise and redecorate their premises.

Many changes have already been implemented and many will be the changes we will see, also with regard to the table and the mise en place. 

More and more places (bars and restaurants) that used only disposable tablecloths before the pandemic, are supporting the philosophy of the fabric tablecloth. It is certainly a more hygienic and safer solution, because tablecloths and napkins are sanitised in a suitable way after each use.

This last aspect is linked to customer safety, like almost all the changes we have just seen in recent years. For example, reusable cloth tablecloths are a very effective choice for ensuring extreme hygiene.