It’s been just over a year since the hard lockdown began and so Eat Out has marked the 365 days by a look back at the last year.

“The restaurant trade is, unarguably, one of the industry’s most heavily impacted over the last year. It hardly seems adequate to describe this period as ‘tough’ or ‘challenging’ with well-established businesses and names in the industry vanishing almost overnight,” says Natalie Wilson, Head of Food at Food24 and Eat Out.

“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. Eat Out has been covering the past year’s highs, lows and in-betweens, and launched The Year We platform to share everything that has been encountered and is still being encountered.”

Some of the things that the platform highlights on the page include:

Restaurant Closures: Difficult to say exactly, but RASA estimated at February this year that the number could be well in the thousands.

Alcohol bans and curfews: The wine industry lost a huge R8 billion in local sales, according to Vinpro, thanks to the booze bans. This ban, together with the 9pm curfew, hugely affected restaurants and their turnovers.

Reimagining: Despite it all, some notable restaurants have opened their doors, including Pete Tempelhoff’s Beyond at Buitenverwachting, Freddie Dias’ Sejour, and Matt Manning’s new wine bar Culture.

COVID-19 innovation: Restaurants have thought outside the box and adapted their offering, such as a restaurant hub that was designed specifically with Covid-19 in mind.

Sustainability: In keeping the doors open, restaurants have been agile with new offerings, takeaways, delivery options, deli products and much more.

Helping others: There were incredible collaborations in the food industry, with feeding schemes and food rescue projects keeping vulnerable communities fed. Chefs were incredibly eager to roll up their sleeves and jump in, and it’s a testament to the incredible giving nature of the industry.

To take a look back at the year that was, click here.

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