It's almost exactly a year since South Africa went into strict Level 5 lockdown on 27 March 2020 to help curb the spread of Covid-19 and save lives. This, and subsequent restrictions, had an undeniable effect on many sectors - with the restaurant industry being one of the most heavily impacted over the past year.
Natalie Wilson, head of food at New Media, says: "It hardly seems adequate to describe this period as 'tough' or 'challenging' with well-established businesses and names vanishing almost overnight. However, it has also been a year of determination to do things differently, and seeing the rush of development of new and innovative ways of doing business has been really thrilling too."
The Year We
To that end, Eat Out's The Year We website marks the highs, lows and 'in-betweens' experienced by restaurants and associated industries in a year where the word 'sustainability' took on a much deeper meaning. The platform looks back on restaurant closures and the effect of the various alcohol bans and curfews, as well as how top chefs and restaurateurs reimagined their offerings, embraced new business models and innovated to stay in business.
The past 12 months have also been about the beauty of human nature and the true spirit of ubuntu. We have seen and read of the incredible work carried out by some of our restaurants as they opened their kitchens, establishing numerous feeding schemes for the hungry. And we have also seen and read of many organisations stepping up to assist South Africa's restaurant industry during these times. In conjunction with The Community Chest, Eat Out's Restaurant Relief Fund raised over R2.7m to support restaurants and communities in need, creating over one million meals.
2020 was the year we realised a deep appreciation for the simple act of visiting a restaurant and enjoying a culinary experience. And it was the year we appreciated wine like never before! Most importantly, 2020 was the year we reimagined, kept on going, and learnt to be a little kinder.
Immerse yourself in the timeline of The Year We at https://www.eatout.co.za/the-year-we/