Buffets to be history after pandemic: Experts
The novel coronavirus outbreak is expected to completely change some stereotyped habits in tourism, as sector representatives expect buffets to be a thing of the past once the coronavirus pandemic ends because of attitudes concerning meal consumption.
World Tourism Forum Institute head Bulut Bağcı said people are traumatized in situations like global outbreaks and cannot get past its effect for a long time.
Outbreaks change consumers habits and the tourism sector is the most affected by the novel coronavirus, Bağcı said.
Tourism, a $1.7 trillion annual industry, lost at least $1 trillion because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
Consumers will prefer boutique hotels and holiday villages in the off-season instead of crowded facilities in peak season, Bağcı estimated.
“Buffets, where tens or even hundreds of tourists line up and use same scoops or dishes to get meals, salads and desserts, will no longer be preferred,” he said.
About 2,000 tourist can eat from the same buffet in an 800-room hotel but social distance cannot be maintained in that model leading tourists to prefer a la carte restaurants instead of buffets, which cause a lot of food to be wasted.
He said in Turkey, 26 million tons, or $214 billion in food, was wasted in 2018.
The chair of the Hotel Association of Turkey Müberra Eresin said hotels in resort provinces prefer buffets for breakfast and other meals.
After the pandemic, hotels recommend serving breakfast plates or a set menu instead of buffets, Eresin said.
“Hygiene and food safety come first. It is very difficult to predict which applications will change with the coronavirus epidemic, and which changes will be permanent at this stage, but I think that the buffet cannot be preferred,” she added.