Among the many challenges of restaurant reopening and once again welcoming guests, is how food orders will be expedited. Once again Jean-Georges Vongerichten and his partner Phil Suarez are set to take the road less travelled.
At Vongerichten’s 15 New York City restaurants, he said customers can expect big changes as they begin the transition to outdoor dining. “We are really operating in the new world of Covid. We will not do menus anymore,” he said. “We will use QR codes to reduce contact between servers and customers. Diners will find a QR on their table that will allow their device to pull up a menu, place and order items with their server and eventually pay their bill. “It’s all part of keeping guest contact to a minimum but also making sure to maintain the experience diners expect.”
With New York City enters phase two of reopening, restaurateurs like Vongerichten will use the QR code technology to greet outdoor dining guests. The city is predicting 5,000 restaurants will begin offering outdoor dining as part of the phase two reopening with 3,200 eateries having registered with the City in the first 72 hours of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s reopening initiative.
The QR code rollout will also support the news that Vongerichten will be entering the delivery marketplace for the first time. Vongerichten’s restaurants will also be making big changes by adding delivery options at all venues.
Vongerichten arrived in the United States in 1985 under the auspices of consulting chef Louis Outhier, opening the Le Marquis de Lafayette restaurant in Boston. A year later he arrived in New York to take over the executive Chef position at Lafayette in the Drake Swissôtel, generating critical acclaim with his innovative interpretation of classical French cuisine and earning four stars from The New York Times at the age of 29. There he met financiers Bob Giraldi and Phil Suarez, a loyal dining patron Vongerichten, Giraldi and Suarez opened a bistro, JoJo, in 1991. JoJo was named Best New Restaurant of the Year.
Vongerichten and Suarez are looking to with their next chapter with a commitment to New York City. The French chef’s two restaurants in Shanghai closed their doors on Jan. 25 and returned two months later. This experience has helped guide his planning when it comes to reopening in New York City. “We are excited to go back to life,” he said. “People are hungry for our food and ready to get back to eating at restaurants again,” he added.