5 Pandemic Phrases We’re Sick of Hearing
It’s been a year! It’s insane to believe everything didn’t take place in a decade instead of one year. The restaurant industry is doing its best to recover from the hits that it’s taken because of the pandemic, from investing in new technologies to increasing their hiring, which is promising. Raise your hand though, if you’ve learned new, hilarious ways to refer to the pandemic. If you’re like us, raise it again if in all of the campaigns that you’ve heard, whether from businesses or just word-of-mouth, there are a few pandemic phrases or words you’re wishing you never have to hear again. Now, let us know if we’re on the same page.
The New Normal
Do you remember the first time you heard about the “new normal?” Neither do we! However, now we see it everywhere. In the restaurant industry, so many of the headlines we see talk about heading toward a new normal.
In the beginning, this pandemic phrase signaled a return to the world as we knew it before the pandemic. Now, the expression is something you roll your eyes at when you hear it. What kind of “new normals” can we look forward to for restaurants?
- Technological – To create a push for diners to return and feel safe when dining in the restaurants, operators explored contactless strategies to help alleviate concerns. Likewise, technologies like order-ready screens can also help keep crowds from gathering in close spaces.
- Off-premise – Due to international restaurant closures we’ve seen restaurants take strides to refresh their business strategies to allow them to continue to acquire revenue without dine-in traffic whether via pickup or delivery.
- Sanitation – We’ve seen restaurants create new SOPs when it comes to sanitizing to ensure that customers feel safe when they dine in at an establishment, from cleaning countertops to technology.
These are just a few ideas that represent a new frontier to explore as we continue to push past the echoes of the public health crisis.
Anytime anyone has referred to the public health crisis, lockdowns, quarantine, etc; we’ve heard this pandemic phrase. At first, it sounded like the perfect description of everything that was happening. A year later, however, it seems redundant. How long are these times going to be “unprecedented?” Also, if you think about this at all, any new development or deviation from the norm can be described as “unprecedented.”
So what’s the takeaway? Businesses should always have a contingency plan based on the likelihood of unforeseen occurrences including appliance failure, unexpected short-term or long-term closure, and revamping your business model to name a few.
Flatten the Curve
Referring to the efforts taken by officials to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, this pandemic phrase was used at the beginning of the public health crisis. It then continued to be used in press conferences ad nauseum. Since this was before the vaccines were available, there was plenty of talk about what we can do to help each other and slow the spread.
Once restaurants were slowly able to reopen this phrase died down, but it still lingers. Restaurants’ main priority was to make sure that their customers remained as safe as possible when they visited the establishment. Amid reports of restaurants being potential hotspots, this continues to prove to be a challenge.
Fun fact, efforts to curb the virus worked for St. Louis during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. In a tale of two cities, Philadelphia ignored measures to mitigate the spread of the virus, which led to a massive outbreak during that pandemic, while St. Louis, well, flattened the curve.
An Abundance of Caution
Of all the pandemic phrases “an abundance of caution” can come off confusing because caution and abundance seem to be opposites separately. When they’re used together, we’re not sure what to think of them. We conclude that since we’re already being cautious, we need to be as cautious as possible and take extreme measures to get in front of everything that is happening. Still, while the expression promotes polite prudence, the word “abundance” evokes hoarding, which was in and of itself a problem at the beginning of the pandemic (remember having to hunt for toilet paper?).
In too many instances, that caution led to business closures across industries. Since restaurant capacities were dramatically minimized, restaurateurs struggled to remain solvent. Solutions like gift cards, off-premise options, ghost or dark kitchens, and more have been reported to have helped some restaurants stay open.
If you’ve never heard this pandemic phrase, you live in an eternal void. It began as the main solution to slow the spread during a pandemic. In the beginning, experts pushed back to change the phrase to “physical distancing,” because it was believed that “social distancing” might send the wrong message. To be fair: it is a little confusing, especially in that context.
As we learned, the virus spreads due to proximity and contact. Social distancing took tolls on mental health, as quarantine left the public in isolation. Now, we not only hear “social distancing” often, but we also see it everywhere from virtual zoom dates to concerts in a bubble. To ensure people weren’t in the same vicinity in restaurants, states enacted capacity limits once restaurants were able to reopen. Restaurants have also been closing tables to separate parties, creating contactless options, and revitalizing their business strategies.
Even though we never want to hear or see this again, we don’t have a problem keeping this as an unspoken rule when standing in any line ever again.
Pandemic Phrases: Conclusion
This list isn’t entirely complete and likely never really will be, but as we move toward a future “post-COVID-19” we can’t say we would hate it if we never heard these specific pandemic phrases again. So, let’s pivot (oops, let’s add this one to the list too) towards different campaign verbiage as restaurants, communities, and industries forge ahead. Do you have anything to add to our list? Drop other cringe-worthy phrases in the comments below.
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About the Author
Devyn Nance is the Marketing Coordinator at QSR Automations. She graduated from the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and from Loyola University Chicago with a master’s degree in Global Strategic Communication. She considers herself an (amateur) profiler – trained solely from watching every episode of Criminal Minds. Outside of work, Devyn loves to shop, travel, hang out with friends and family, read, and watch shows on various streaming platforms.