Increased personal and financial safety are the major concerns among people willing to travel in the immediate future
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The pandemic has forced several businesses to rethink operations and embrace the outdoors like never before. In the current socially distanced world, a new kind of restaurant is allowing diners to pick up their orders and eat in the safety of their cars.
It’s called drive-through and drive-in restaurants. They are now emerging as social distancing norms, turning cars into “bio-bubbles” for dining outside. Say goodbye to the fear of dining in closed air-conditioned spaces—popular restaurants are rapidly expanding to drive-through passages across India.
India currently has only about 100 drive-through points and drive-in restaurants are quickly adding up to that number as Kerala’s KTDC is ready to serve food in parked vehicles.
Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC), in a bid to allay health risks of eating in public spaces amid the COVID-19 is launching ‘In-Car Dining’, a service that will allow the travellers to remain in their cars and receive food orders from KTDC’s Aahaar Restaurants.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks will be served adhering to the COVID-19 protocols, and select KTDC restaurants in the State will carry out the scheme initially. The scheme seeks to provide customers with a new experience as it plans to reach out to the people with safe and tasty food.
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Tourism Minister P. A. Mohamed Riyas stated that KTDC hotel chains will be renovated under the project ‘Mission Facelift’. Besides in-car dining, Kerala is also preparing to open floating restaurants in select destinations across the State and the first one will come up in Kadalundi in Kozhikode district.
While the trend has been popular abroad for decades, drive-through and drive-ins in India are picking up pace only now. Since the pandemic began, world-renowned food brands have launched drive-through or kerbside delivery services at their restaurants as consumers were nervous about dining in.
The spike in coronavirus infections across the country has pushed diners to go for their next best option—a drive-through or drive-in as diners simply have to pull over at the restaurant and enjoy the luxury of placing their order and having someone serve it to them inside the vehicle.
The concept of these newly popularised bio-bubble restaurants is the best bet to satisfy your hunger pangs and to be sealed off in your car to protect yourself from the virus.
And the best part is, you not only get to eat with your loved ones while you are tuned into your music on the car stereo but also show up at these restaurants without having to dress up. The restaurants will deliver your favorite dishes in disposable cutlery, ensuring minimum spillage and comfortable usage. So, all you have to do is drive, order, and eat.
As a part of the Covid-19 comeback strategy for hospitality and dining, a Tata-Starbucks joint venture planned to open about a dozen drive-through outlets in India last year. The Global coffee retailer opened its first drive-thru on the Ambala-Chandigarh Expressway in July 2020. Quick-service-restaurants such as McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, and Pizza Hut are not very far behind as they are now scouting for more drive-thru locations in the country as well.
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Last year, a hospitality group in Kanpur had transformed two of its banquet lawns into a drive-in restaurant where diners could order food and enjoy it in their car, or simply choose to sit outside at picnic tables. The drive-and-dine was the brainchild of Yash Malhotra and Insha Malhotra who run several restaurants and hotels in the city.
Though the effectiveness of bio-bubbles in the sports and travel sectors are still subject to debates, they seem to be working out well for diners and restaurants.
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