When your favorite restaurant fully opens up again it will be cause for celebration, but it might look a lot different.  Thick menus may be replaced with paper, disposable ones, and you may be sitting at least feet from the next table.

Restaurants have kept the food coming through the coronavirus situation with takeout and delivery and we love that, but there's something about being inside the actual restaurant that makes it taste even better.  We miss the atmosphere at places like Barbacoa Grill, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, and Owyhee Tavern, and we're eager to experience those places again.

But getting back to normal won't be a flip of a switch, and in some ways, restaurants may never be the same.

5 Ways Restaurants May Change Forever

1.  Disposable utensils, drinkware, and menus.  We may be using plastic forks and knives at least for a while, and thick menus with mouth-watering pictures of burgers, steaks, and desserts may be a thing of the past.  Restaurants may switch to paper menus that can be tossed (or recycled) after one use, so they don't have to disinfect the plastic ones.  And since forks and cups touch mouths, those things might become disposable so kitchens and dishwashers don't risk being contaminated.

2.  Emptier dining rooms.  Tables might be scooted further apart to create the six-foot separation, and restaurants may limit the number of diners that can be inside at one time.  At least we won't feel the bumping from the person on the other side of the booth.  That seat may be empty and we'll have the backrest all to ourselves.

3.  No more family-style dinners.  Just like food samples have been eliminated from grocery stores, restaurants won't want to provide opportunities for a bunch of hands to reach for the same bite.  That big bowl of family-style pasta may be happening only at home.

4.  More closures.  Some restaurants may not open up even if the government says it's okay because of financial wounds.  If a restaurant was on the bubble before, the forced closure over the past six weeks may have been the last straw.  This may be our call to order more takeout right this minute, to see if we can help them change course.

5.  More ghost kitchens.   New restaurants may pop up that are delivery only, with no actual dining area.  We would order from an app and the food would show up at the door, and we'd never experience a physical location.  Or restaurants could team up to offer a shared dining room, like KFC and Taco Bell have already done in some places.

Nobody knows for sure what changes will happen or which ones might be short-term, but we do know things will be different.

I'm super excited to go to a nice restaurant again and have a really great cocktail while I wait for some superb grilled salmon on a bed of spinach and orzo, and I will never take that experience for granted again.  If I have to eat it with a plastic fork, well...okay.

Good luck, restaurants.  We're pulling for you.

READ MORE: See how some companies are changing their businesses to combat COVID-19

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