In New York City, Eleven Madison Park (EMP) recently told Bloomberg Pursuits that a question mark looms over if it will reopen at all. Chef and owner Daniel Humm notes that it will cost millions of dollars to reopen and worries the original creativity may be lost. In addition, Humm is thinking about purpose. He is currently producing 3,000 meals a day feeding the homeless and hungry, and says he will continue to use the EMP kitchen for this mission if it were to open again.
As consumers reevaluate priorities coming out of a lockdown, restaurants and cafes are also using this opportunity to reconsider business plans. In an April article by The Guardian titled “Restaurants will never be the same after coronavirus — but that may be a good thing” author Jonathan Nunn explains the industry’s flaws, from struggles to break even because of extortionate rent to the unethical reliance on cheap labor. Nunn points out, “to move forward, we must start by examining what we would like the save about the industry, giving space to things that nourish us and our communities, and discarding what we believe doesn’t deserve to survive.”
Lockdown has given restaurants a chance for introspection. As dire as the situation is with many restaurants potentially closing down, the hope is the ones that survive and prosper will offer a fresh approach to the dining landscape and provide value and purpose within the community.