The Future of Mall Food Courts

We’ve all visited mall food courts. Large spaces with tons of different restaurant options to choose from, they often have long lines and crowded dining areas. The restaurants range from popular fast food to lesser known food chains. However, with COVID-19 forcing public spaces to enforce strict social distancing policies, the beloved food courts will not be the same for a long time. When malls begin to reopen, managers must think of new ways to safely open food courts to the public. Here’s a breakdown of what your mall can do to keep the food court open in the post-pandemic world. 

1. Separating tables 

Mall food courts are known for having plenty of tables and seats bunched closely together. This cannot be the case when mall food courts reopen. Tables must be six feet apart from one another in order to comply with social distancing measures. This also means that there should be fewer tables in the food court area, which will also help control maximum capacity. 

2. Get rid of food trays 

We all have carried a plastic food tray at mall food courts before. However, these food trays are just another breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Therefore, it is critical to eliminate food trays completely and offer another method of transporting food. This could be a paper bag or a disposable box. These items are not reusable so they will greatly reduce the chance of spreading any infection through surfaces. 

3. No more free samples 

Everyone loves to munch on some free samples when walking around the mall food court. These samples helped restaurants attract more customers. However, samples are an easy way to spread germs, so this might no longer be possible once mall food courts reopen. 

4. Eliminate condiment areas 

Once customers grab their food, the next place they visit is the condiment area, where they pump some ketchup or mustard onto their food. These areas are filled with germs, and it is unrealistic for workers to constantly clean the condiment pumps between every use. Restaurants will need to provide small condiment packets with each order to prevent the spread of any germs. 

5. Self-ordering kiosks 

We are now entering an era of contactless food ordering, and with self-ordering kiosks, this ordering method has never been easier. Mall food courts can install self-ordering kiosks to reduce lines, increase revenue, and allow the customer to choose precisely what they want. Self-ordering kiosks help eliminate unnecessary human contact between customers and employees, help mitigate crowding, and help get rid of cash exchange entirely. Additionally, families who wish to order different cuisines can easily pay for all their meals at one centrally located kiosk. The installation of self-ordering kiosks is the next step in keeping mall food courts safeclean and efficient for years to come.