A few weeks ago OpenIDEO announced the winners of a design competition whose theme was to provide solutions to restaurateurs so that their business volume does not decrease with the second wave of the coronavirus.
OpenIDEO is an initiative open to the public that depends on THEREFORE, a company dedicated to developing humane solutions to complex industry problems. The design competition City of Chicago Winter Restoration Challenge aimed to offer alternatives to restaurants that, with the cold they could no longer offer their services on the terrace as they usually do.
The outdoor spaces of the restaurant were the main protagonists of this edition.
The turnout was huge. The citizens of Chicago and beyond the city organized to make this installment of the competition one of the most productive. With 415 registered ideas, finding three finalists was very difficult.
Even if only three concepts were winners, the reality is that among the plethora of proposals presented there are many others with great potential. Restaurateurs might be interested in establishing some of them in their cities:
- Shared gazebos in parks and green areas. Each gazebo would be shared by several restaurants that would take turns offering their services in them one day of the week. In this way it would be possible to extend the capacity of the restaurants, which is one of the biggest constraints in this coronavirus crisis.
- Modular cubicles on the streets. Erected with prefabricated structures that make assembly and disassembly easy, these elements would be arranged in the streets occupying part of the public space. The idea is cede part of the city to one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, without necessarily implying the granting of an economic item by the government.
- Reconditioned multimodal shipping containers. This type of container efficiently insulates against extreme temperatures, they are easy to obtain at bargain prices, and can be adapted to business needs with relative ease. This solution is more aimed at restaurants located in the suburbs or that have their own car parks, as they allow converting an esplanade into an extension of the restaurant's dining room.
- Concepto «Lots-2-Eat». It is a new twist on food delivery ideas already known as the curbside pickup and the drive-thru. In this case the design is based on the restaurants located in shopping centers with parking.. Customers could place their order from the phone and receive it in the square where they are parked, so that the outdoor space of the restaurant is extrapolated to the basements of large stores.
- School buses converted into food trucks. Most coronavirus infections occur in schools. that way, It is not surprising that many of these schools and institutes end up temporarily closing to go through a period of quarantine and disinfection. When this happens, services associated with the academic life of the youngest, how can school buses be, they are also out of commission. This concept offers a unique opportunity to help two segments of the socioeconomic fabric at the same time, providing extra income to both restaurateurs and drivers. Similar bets also turned to the car rental market.
- Events. Multiple participating entries refer to events as gastronomy competitions, culinary-themed parties where social distancing is guaranteed, etc.
But without a doubt, the igloos and exterior glazed huts they are the great protagonists. Dozens of participations refer to these concepts, providing small improvements or changes in the design.
In Chicago, this type of structure has been in use for some time. When the cold starts to get worse, the terraces are deserted and the professionals of the sector need some trick to keep your outdoor spaces productive and profitable. That is why in the last two or three years igloos have proliferated throughout the city. So much so, That this 2020, with forecasts of an early winter, West Loop already witnesses these picturesque constructions.
This year, because of the coronavirus crisis, investment in this concept has been especially steep, which has caused several important entities in the city to come together to face the challenge. The West Central Association, the Illinois Restaurant Association y Stella Artois (a renowned local beer brand) have collaborated so that the streets of the neighborhood are filled with these glazed modules.
Nevertheless, these solutions are far from the suitability of the winners of the OpenIDEO contest. The three finalists, that they have taken 5000 dollars as a reward for your selfless contribution to the industry, offer advanced designs of great interest to the hospitality sector.
After a pre-selection in which most of the participations were screened, 26 innovative concepts were analyzed in greater depth, and of them the following three obtained a place on the podium:
- Amy Young's Cozy Booths. The coronavirus crisis and the economic difficulties that are experienced in the world of restaurants do not have to be at odds with the user experience. These inexpensive pre-fab booths evoke better times with cozy interior design, comfortable and warm. Perfect for the cold nights of the Chicago winter. Offering unique and safe experiences, it is possible to regain consumer confidence and interest and overcome the difficult times that we have had to wade through.
- Modular blocks by Neil Rendel. Modular blocks are a concept that seeks to deconstruct prefabricated igloos and huts to offer a versatile and adaptable solution for outdoor restaurant spaces.. Designed for two consumers, these blocks can be joined together to serve larger groups or even host authentic banquets, always isolating these people from other diners.
- Ellie Henderson Heated Tables. In the purest Japanese style, These tables have a heater on the underside and skirting that allows a pocket of hot air to form under the surface of the furniture.. Diners can raise that kind of curtains, place your legs there, and rearrange the fabric so that the heat does not escape. This ensures comfortable meals and a pleasant atmosphere even on the harshest winter day..
Immersed in a deep second wave of infections, it's still too early to say goodbye to the crisis of the coronavirus. So that, restorers must make use of whatever help comes to them to get ahead, and the ideas listed here may deserve your consideration. In Chicago they have already done it and they are paying off.