A waitress wearing face mask and face shield brings food to the customer's table in Bumi Aki restaurant in Bogor, June 2, 2020. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

More Restaurants Serve Comfort Food in These Stressful Times

BY :JAYANTY NADA SHOFA

NOVEMBER 07, 2020

Jakarta. Restaurants are trying to survive the Covid-19 pandemic by turning to comfort food and a more practical serving.

Comfort food is oftentimes homey meals that remind people of their mother's cooking. People are seeking comfort in food during these stressful times. They are also looking for something practical to eat at home. Because of this, restaurants are trying to accommodate these trends.

"With more people staying at home, more culinary business owners are serving comfort food. They are also trying to be creative with the pricing, packaging, food serving as well as its quality," culinary expert William Wongso told an online conference on Thursday.

"People need food. They need meals that are practical and nutritious at a realistic price. This is the target market that must be thought of during this pandemic," he said.

Benedict, a Jakarta restaurant with a casual fine dining concept, also turned to these trends. During the pandemic-hit Ramadan, Benedict served comfort food on rantang, an Indonesian classic stackable food container often associated with mother's cooking.

"It is true that many restaurants are turning comfort food. What we are focusing on is going back to the basics and trying to accommodate what people want at home," Benedict's chef Fernando Sindu said.

According to Fernando, Benedict still holds on to the same quality ingredients and techniques. But they have repackaged the food into something that can easily be served at home.

"The first thing we did was how to adapt from [dine-in] services to delivery services. We choose not to depend on online delivery services but use our own staff to deliver these meals. This was one of the reasons that helped us survived at the beginning of the pandemic," he said.

Gigantic Food Order

While some restaurants remain resilient, many others are barely surviving the pandemic. The inactivity of restaurants has even affected the entire ecosystem, be it restaurant staff, vendors, and food producers.

To help the industry bounce back, food magazine Best Eats and Aqua Reflections has launched an initiative named Best Eats Cares. Two restaurants - one in the Greater Jakarta area and the other in Bali - will be selected for special food orders worth Rp 150 million (around $10,551) each.

"We want to create a ripple effect. This food order is not only to revive these two restaurants, but the money can be used to pay the employees' salaries and support vendors, farmers, and even fishermen," FoodieS publisher Jed Doble said.

Jed said the ripple effect does not stop at the restaurant industry. The food order, which comes in rice-based comfort food, goes straight to health workers and the people affected by the pandemic.

The University of Indonesia International Class Student Union (Stunica), Foodbank of Indonesia (FOI), and Crisis Kitchen Bali will be in charge of the food distribution. 

To sign up, restaurants must submit a 60-second video showcasing their food and team. More information on Best Eats Cares is available on the official website.

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