Ladybyrd Cafe, located in Echo Park in Los Angeles came up with an innovative solution to provide a secure dining experience for its customers in the post COVID era. After being shut down in March, they resumed services in July revamped with private glass cabins so that their customers can safely maintain social distance while not feeling utterly restricted. Coronavirus has altered the way we carried out our daily tasks. Ordinary things like eating out have now become mired in concerns of hygiene and sanitation. This is equally important for owners of the restaurant as it is for the visitors. The unconventional glass greenhouses address the safety concerns while giving a unique makeover to the cafe.
The owner of the cafe Misty Mansouri transformed the unused asphalt parking space into a beautiful garden full of herbs, flowers and plants. She also installed mini cabins in the dilapidated parking so that few of their diners can dine in. The investment in the glass canopies has paid off for the cafe as indoor dining has once again been banned in the state with rising cases of coronavirus. The glass pods are allowing the cafe to carry on with their business while giving a protected experience to their diners. The cabins are reportedly sanitised after each use, following the safety guidelines of the state and have windows to facilitate airflow. According to the cafe owner, the glass pods abide by the U.S Centre of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) directive of keeping a six feet distance while allowing maximum comfort to the guests. Many people had their first post-coronavirus dining experience at the cafe and felt safe about the arrangement.
The inspiration for these glass pods came from some restaurants in Europe. ETEN, a Dutch restaurant had introduced a waterside glass hut in May. Customers of the Ladybyrd Cafe are also titillated by this safe and unique dining experience. The cafe convinces the prospective guests of the cafe using their website, which has a gallery of their uncommon arrangement. The experience of visiting the cafe has even been regarded as “the holy grail of dining” by a customer, who used the glass pods images on the cafe website to convince her hesitant friend to go out for lunch.
Restaurants worldwide have realised the necessity of getting creative to provide a safer environment for their visitors if they want to stay in business in the post COVID era. Even in India, the hospitality industry is proactively introducing changes to the dining experience such as tables placed at a distance of two metres, only family arriving in groups allowed to share tables etc. However, more creative approaches to outdoor dining such as the Los Angeles cafe is required.
The only drawback to the mini-greenhouses according to the owner is that in spite of having fans and roof windows, the glass tends to heat up in the harsh afternoon heat. They are very popular during the mornings and evenings.