What Cruise Ship Chefs Need To Know About Contactless Dining

The pandemic might seem to be on wane, but it has burnt many fingers in the industry and cruise ship companies are taking no chances. COVID-19 certainly upset the apple cart and cruise ship chefs will be looking at tweaks to their SOPs in the new era of contactless dining. So what could this look like?


Decreased menu size

Instead of the incredible variety of dishes that almost became synonymous with cruising, menus are likely to stay curated and smaller. This allows restaurants to streamline ordering  and service to ensure better efficiency. Chefs will therefore be able to focus on what they do best.


Tech-based ordering

Reducing touch points is a key feature of contactless dining. Cruise ship chefs might have to forget about handwritten tickets of orders for a while as updated systems kick in to offer automated slips. Service staff can use a mobile or tablet that sends orders directly to a system in the kitchen with features that allow meals to be modified for allergies, preferences or restrictions. This also helps reduce ordering mistakes.


Pre-ordering meals

To encourage a more efficient system that is faster and reduces contact between guests and service staff, many restaurants might consider pre-ordering meals. This way, guests can make their choices from the comfort of their staterooms and head down to the restaurant when their meal is ready.


Strict implementation of safety protocols

With the risks so high, cruise ship companies will ensure strict implementation of all safety and hygiene protocols. Some land-based restaurants are looking at restricting uniforms from being worn outside the place of work. This could mean that chefs will not visit guests at their tables. Regular temperature checks, social distancing, masks and frequent hand sanitisation will probably be the norm for some time to come.


Organised seating plans and traffic flow

Instead of allowing guests to walk in and order as they please, restaurants on cruise ships might consider more organised seating plans and planned traffic flow. Restaurant managers will look at limiting close contact and minimising social interaction, which could mean fewer guests served within a certain time frame compared with before. Chefs could be expected to speed up service to be able to accommodate more diners. 


Kitchen BTS 

Many guests are still concerned about what goes on behind closed doors. To counter that, restaurants might look into live streaming the action from the kitchen. With this, diners can see how their food is being cooked, although this means that chefs are under the microscope at all times. 


Case study

Here’s how Princess Cruises is rolling out contactless dining to keep guests happy yet safe. Through its OceanNow app, guests can order food from anywhere on the vessel at any time and it will be delivered to a place of their choosing at no extra charge. The app also allows guests to choose their desired seating location – outdoors, near a window or near the entrance, share dietary preferences and information about allergies, request the same time or venue each night, particularly if they prefer the same staff.

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