Big surprise, but I’ve been eating out in cafes and restaurants a lot of less recently. Well, okay, not at all. But I’ve been spending a lot more money at one of my local haunts than I ever did before the plague.
There’s a place down the hill from us which used to be a French Twist franchise but the owners struck out on their own and now it’s called Fiddeleaf. (I think that’s some kind of tree reference).
We used to stop in on Saturday mornings while walking the dog. I’d grab a coffee and something light to eat. Very light, because I had jujitsu a couple of hours later. I’m now dropping way more money there every week because they’ve set the kitchen to producing take-away-friendly boxed meals. Pies, lasagne, moussaka and so on. We suggested they try some gnocchi bakes and spanakopita - which they did, along with enchiladas and stuff that can be easily carried way and reheated at leisure.
Apparently it’s going well for them.
I was thinking this morning as I walked the dog and grabbed my coffee, that the smaller, simpler food places in the burbs are the ones best suited to adaptation. Their business was never about plating up beautifully realised objet d’art. They just fed people.
The sort of restaurants I loved to eat, the fussy, obsessive providers of food as drama, have a bigger gear change to negotiate. They have to pivot from creating these delicate, intricate works of culinary magic, to boxing up a couple of kilograms worth of carbs and protein in a fridge-friendly manner.
I hope they can do it, because I love those places and I want them to be there when this is all over.
But it’s a hard ask.
It makes me wonder how many other changes are working their through the world, unseen. Will anyone who’s had the experience of exercising at home but with real focus, be all that willing to stump up for gym membership in a couple of months? I’m keen to get back to my trainer, but my membership at Goodlife? Meh, not so much.
Maybe home fitness becomes a much bigger thing. Maybe home cooking too.
I think telepresence is here to stay. Not just videoconferencing for work, but for catching up with friends at a distance. Interstate, internationally, whatever. Perhaps that in turn has effects on the broadband internet market. And on laptop cameras, which are all garbage because the cult of thinness doesn’t allow for big chunky lenses.
Does Face ID fade away in a world where everyone has to wear a mask for two years? What happens to OPEC when the west stops driving to work?
In my own dodge, do people buy more ebooks, or audio, or simply hook Netflix up to their cortex. I’d guess the latter, but all of the steamers will run out of new content within a couple of months… and nobody is currently making anymore.
On a personal note I got a call today saying all Nine/Fairfax contributors were being cut, at least for now, so there’s no more Blunty to write. No idea whether it will ever come back, but I assume not. I reckon that will be my last news column for anyone.
But obviously not the last thing I write for money.
So I’d better get back to it.