With the whole pandemic and new normal in travel, we have found ourself based for now permanently in Ireland considering what to do next? And with lockdown, we have been looking at sharing our own interests for both travel and food locally. Introducing, Fanfan’s Kitchen. “Bringing Thailand to your Table,” and the staples of Isaan and Lanna cuisine to the lucky folk of Ireland. Anyway, this is just an idea, where we have considered ideas from delivering direct from our own kitchen and pop-ups at local ‘farmer’ markets, to investment in a food truck or private dining. With the main focus being on emerging markets like shared economy businesses and the increased use of phone apps. Things we have become increasingly reliant on through the global pandemic and life in our new normal.
No More ‘Personal Recommendations’
First off, one thing I always avoid when eating out and with travel is the whole word-of-mouth thing. I do not want personal recommendations. “Oh, you have to try here…., oh, this ‘obscure place’ would be perfect for you etc.” Because more than not it won’t be. In fact, I don’t think I have ever followed anyone’s recommendations when it comes to restaurants, or venues or travel. Because I can easily go online and search for the best-fit criteria catering to my own interests and needs. And personal recommendation always felt like added/unnecessary obligations in decision making. “So, did you try out so-and-so….?” As I am forced to feel guilty for completely ignoring them. In short, do not recommend anything to me. I can do my own research.
Flexibility in Phone Apps
So we have been led to study the more contemporary alternatives to booking restaurants recently these days, those evolving online and through phone apps, for example, I am an avid user of Just-Eat locally. Because these platforms create a much wider selection to choose from for the user. But they also give restaurants and event holders the flexibility to simply add or remove or update their listings and availability at any time using an app. Something that fits well with our lifestyle with our regular stints of travel and time in Asia.
Increased Importance for Reservations
One of the more obvious changes we found through the past 2-weeks was the increased need for reservations as we have been covering a road trip on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. We more or less stayed in B&Bs each night in the counties of Donegal, Mayo, Claire and Kerry, and planned to go for pub grub each night. Only, when we asked on arrival to our B&Bs about local restaurants, we were told everywhere nearby would be fully booked. Partly because we were staying in pokey tourist towns, but it is more to do with social distancing measures where venues were catering to a third of their normal capacity. And so we were living off chip shops and takeaway food for the week.
Online Reservation Apps
We did manage to organise one meal out by booking a table for two in advance, on a Saturday, for our final night in Killarney. Something that is now easy to do using apps like Square Meal which focuses on reservations at restaurants, bars and other venues. Instead of searching for decent fitting restaurants, finding their contact details, then phoning around to check on availability. Instead you just type your destination into the app, select what grub you may be hankering for, and then make a booking from the list of potential bookings. An example of how apps can make things increasingly easier for tourists in Ireland, but it’s also great for organising and booking all sorts of meet-ups and events locally and further afar in Ireland.