As we look back on 2020, what can we say that hasn’t already been said? It was a rough one for everyone. But the dining and restaurant industry — a business built on in-person experiences, packed seating, and gatherings of friends and strangers — was especially hardest hit, as the some of the things that make restaurants great are also, health experts say, the things that pose the greatest pandemic-era risks.
Throughout a year of conflicting information, shutdowns, reopenings, and re-shut-downs, restaurants did the best they could, launching new takeout operations, serving cocktails to go, and building massive outdoor spaces for folks to sit and dine. It wasn’t easy, and many businesses, unable to remain afloat, were forced to shutter.
The pandemic won’t be over on January 1, 2021, so diners should expect many of 2020’s innovations to continue — and the impact 2020 had on the industry will linger on even after the COVID-19 vaccine has made its way to everyone who needs it. Most of us won’t miss 2020, it’s safe to say, but none of us will forget it, either.