The restaurant industry has been so severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic that some experts are warning it might not fully recover until 2025. Indeed, at the height of the pandemic, more than 42,500 restaurants in 8 EU countries permanently closed their doors. But it’s not all doom and gloom …
In order to survive, the hospitality industry quickly adapted. Some restaurants focused on take-out and delivery, and across Europe, QR codes became the norm. However, protecting clients from infection still remains a challenge.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that restaurants – especially those limited to indoor dining areas – are one of the riskiest places as far as exposure to SARS-CoV-19 is concerned. In fact, according to this report in Forbes, adults testing positive for COVID-19 are twice as likely to have dined out prior to contracting the virus.
Customers are eager to return. In fact, 75% of respondents to a PYMNTS survey agreed with the statement “I want to eat out at a restaurant”. However, the same survey points to a gap between what customers want and what they feel confident doing. And one of their most important considerations when deciding to eat out is whether the restaurant in question can offer a safe dining experience.
And so air purification has never been more important. The solution, of course, is PuraLamp – designed specifically to make customers feel safe in a restaurant. Even without a mask.
Introducing the Restaurant
Da Mimmo is situated in the historic upper town of Bergamo, Italy, in a building that dates back to 1357, once the seat of the Venetian post office. It consists of a series of internal rooms and a 14th-century courtyard.
The restaurant, open since 1956, specialises in simple authentic cuisine, respecting the rhythm of the seasons and nature. It is a member of the Slow Food Alliance, and most of the ingredients used – flour, butter, eggs, honey, meats, cheeses, fruit and vegetables – are locally sourced and organic.
It can accommodate 180 people inside and the same number outside, but serves a maximum of 200 seats per shift.
It is managed by Roberto Amaddeo.
Roberto Amaddeo: Q&A
What was business like before the pandemic?
Before COVID-19, our busiest period was from April to October. In November, the number of diners tended to decrease, lasting to around 10 December. The Christmas period was very busy and lasted until January 6th
What has been the impact of the pandemic on the restaurant?
In 2020, the pandemic reduced our turnover by 50%. The business recovered in 2021, but only from June to October, when turnover similar to 2019.
How did the restaurant respond? What changes were made?
The change has been constant. We have used our Ghost Kitchen, Lina Food Lab, to create alternative forms of work and expand our delivery service, especially during the holidays. We have also simplified our menu and increased the emphasis on health and safety for customers and staff.
Does the restaurant use QR codes?
We used QR codes when we reopened after the lockdown, but unfortunately it didn’t help our customers make informed choices, so we returned to a traditional menu. Perhaps a spoken menu (with staff wearing masks) might be a solution, but it would require a lot of training.
How has customer behavior changed since the pandemic?
We’ve noticed that customers experience a sense of freedom when they eat out, something they were unaware of prior to COVID-19. But they are also more demanding, rightly so.
Did the restaurant rate the air quality?
We weren’t too worried about the air quality during the summer months, when most customers eat in the courtyard, but we needed to find a solution for the winter.
What attracted you to PuraLamp?
It is the perfect choice for our restaurant because it combines Italian design with attention to the health and safety of the customer, and helps us satisfying the customer’s needs.
How many lamps does the restaurant have?
Where did you decide to place them?
In order to create a welcoming atmosphere, we placed them on window tables where they are visible from outside.
How did the staff adapt to the lamps?
Their reaction was good. I think it makes their life easier than candles. One member of staff is responsible for charging the lamps.
What was the customer reaction?
When we introduce it to diners we emphasise our commitment to both customer health and safety and technological innovation, which has a positive impact on them, especially given our historic location.
Puralamp will be part of our mise en place from now on.