By FARAAZ AZIZ
The popularity of takeout and delivery from restaurants has increased dramatically over these past few months. Due to COVID-19, California governor Gavin Newsom restricted certain counties, including Orange County, from allowing in-person dining, causing many restaurants to resort to takeout and delivery options.
Many restaurants in Orange County have delivery or takeout services, a few popular ones including, BJ’s, Thai Cafe, California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), and Chipotle. With so many restaurants having takeout and delivery options, which one seems to have tackled COVID-19 the best?
Of course, for many customers, takeout or delivery is not a familiar experience because most are accustomed to in-person dining. However, in order to attract customers to order takeout or delivery, restaurants have started offering deals on their food.
During quarantine, BJ’s started a buy one get one free deal on their deep dish pizzas in order to bring in more customers who were not used to ordering takeout. This promotion was successful and brought in many customers who might have felt hesitant to order takeout. My family and I ordered multiple times from BJ’s just because of this deal, and their parking lot was always packed with other customers coming for the discount as well.
Other restaurants, such as CPK, took a different response to financial issues resulting from the COVID-19 restrictions. CPK cut down on its menu in an attempt to lower costs, but this ended up being a failure, and they filed for bankruptcy. Cutting down on their menu made CPK a less appealing option for many customers, especially ones who were already hesitant to order takeout.
Besides monetary deals, safety and cleanliness have become important factors in deciding which restaurants we choose to eat at. We all want to stay safe during this pandemic, and an unsafe restaurant is an easy way to repel customers.
Chipotle has been a favorite of many UHS students because of their safety health guidelines. “My experiences were fairly positive for the most part,” senior Arne Noori said. Noori has ordered takeout from Chipotle as well as other restaurants near University Town Center, such as Hen House, and has noted these restaurants have been following social distancing rules.
One restaurant, Thai Cafe, has also responded well to COVID-19 restrictions. When ordering food from Thai Cafe, the process is simple. Customers order via phone and enter the restaurant later to pick up their food and sign a receipt with a sanitized pen, all while maintaining social distancing. “[My] family’s experience with Thai Cafe was really safe and efficient. We just went to the restaurant and did curbside pickup,” junior Vansh Goel said.
It seems like the verdict for which restaurant responded the best to COVID-19 is a three-way tie between BJ’s, Chipotle, and Thai Cafe.
However, with the recent decline of COVID-19 cases in Orange County, many restaurants have slowly started to open outdoor dining, hoping to bring in a steady flow of business. Many restaurants have set up canopies outside in the parking lot, or just have their outdoor patio open for customers to sit in. Restaurants that relied on in-person dining, such as Korean BBQ, are taking advantage of this opportunity to bring back their traditional way of dining to bring back customers. Hopefully, the COVID-19 situation improves in Orange County, and we can go back to enjoying the experience of eating out with our families and friends.