The Pandemic Food and Takeout Innovations That Changed Restaurants

The flatbreads were developed for consumption in Panera restaurants. The weight of the dough per flatbread was 110 grams for a perfect chewy, crispy base. But in March 2020, “We went from 85% to 85% off-premises overnight,” Petersson said. They tested the deliverability of the flatbread and found that the dough dried out, especially when warmed up at home.

Petersson’s team ran “tons of tests,” and he ate hundreds of flatbreads until they hit a new weight: 165 grams, which would be as tough and crispy in cafes as it is at home. The flatbreads were launched on the market in October four months later than planned – but were optimized. The more guests return to the cafés, the more the recipe stays the same.

How do you deliver a 60-ounce wooden shoulder of lamb?

You could try the magic of wrapping Maydan, the DC restaurant that took second place in our restaurant 2018 Hot Ten List, in a plastic takeaway container, but the massive stone stove would likely melt the container and all of your extremities before you got home. That didn’t stop owner Rose Previte from trying it out.

“We would never have done anything before,” she told me. But last March she looked around the kitchen and asked, “What do we have that we can put in boxes?” The restaurant’s main course is a 60-ounce wooden shoulder of lamb show stopper.

“We started shoving them into the containers you’d get fried chicken in at the supermarket,” she said. “Then we realized that there was no way. This will never be as good as it is at home [in the restaurant]. “They switched the dish to smaller legs of lamb, undercooked them on the stove and gave customers instructions on how to reheat them at home.

“I wish I could tell you that I had a scientist pour something like the smell of smoke into it because that would be really cool. It’s less romantic than that. “Five iterations of changes came down to the packaging, resulting in the perfect aluminum-bottomed container that fits right into customers’ ovens.

Now that the restaurant is open for indoor dining, the shoulder is once again available on-site. When they’re at full capacity again, takeaway stops – there’s no room in the restaurant for either – but people can still order event catering by calling “Celebration packages” An offer that Maydan did not have before the pandemic, but that became a profitable side business. (Get the Ribeye Kebab!)

We have to protect the nori

It was in the back of Lisa Limb’s mind: how could they ever deliver? Nami Nori Temaki? Once assembled, an eater has minutes before the moisture from rice and fish steams the crispy nori casing into the texture of a damp tissue. Limb, a partner in the 40-seat New York restaurant, which is always full, had worked for months on a prototype of a plastic sleeve to pull the temaki’s nori sleeves inside like a tiny nori book jacket. Someday they would finally be takeaway. Then Covid struck and she realized, “Oh, I think we’re going to do this now.”

She quickly searched for a manufacturer who could make the pod out of compostable material and was turned down by over a dozen before ordering a test run of 25,000. Each temaki gets two sleeves that protect the nori. The diner pulls them off from each side without messing up the toppings it contains – and there is a cute GIF version on their website to show you how to do it. “Restaurateurs, we’re a resilient, creative group of people,” Limb said.

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