The Dragonfly Experience, the high-end, high-energy Asian bar and dining space at Aerocity, will be introducing patrons to what could be the future of eating out, tonight.
This transformed Dragonfly may not have wings, but instead boasts freshly installed pods.
Each pod can accommodate between eight to 12 people, enclosed with hard acrylic walls on all four sides, with the top opening to the Worldmark1 building’s newly upgraded air-conditioning vents, which circulate air at a much faster late.
“We’d been singularly unlucky,” mourns Priyank Sukhija of First Fiddle Restaurants, whose brainchild this first-of its- kind-in-India prototype is, noting,
“People had started to return to restaurants despite the restriction of liquor sales, and when we finally got permission, the second wave of cases came in, and scared customers away again. Indeed, we were doing better business before, when alcohol sales were prohibited but cases had been dropping.
” It was due to this that Sukhija began working on a new restaurant model, to help reassure customers and bring them back in through the doors. Inspired by an image of a similar concept in Amsterdam that went viral on Instagram, Sukhija and his team have spent the last month-and-a-half transforming the interiors of Dragonfly for a new ‘experience’.
“We are helped by the fact that we have such a huge space. Friends of mine in the industry are also eager to see how people react to the new Dragonfly design, but again, it can only be implemented in large spread out areas,” elaborates Sukhija, pointing out that the 10 pods, which can seat approximately 100, and the few open air tables between them, together adhere to the 50 per cent occupancy limit set by authorities.
“The partitions, the walkways between them, and just the area needed to allow the swing of the doors of each pod, eat up the floor space of the restaurant, but it’s worth it if it helps reassure people and keep them safe,” says Sukhija, who adds, “While no space can be considered as 100 per cent safe, we will do the maximum we can to ensure our guests’ health and peace of mind.”
This includes thoroughly sanitising each pod after every seating, and while the servers will be in full protective gear, the more cautious parties can ask them to leave the food and drinks on small serving tables placed outside the door so that no one needs enter their protective bubble.
“The thing is, even when friends and families go out today they restrict themselves to a certain circle, of people they are confident have not been exposed to infection.
"So, these pods, which are essentially your own restaurant, allow them to maintain that sense of security and carry it with them from their homes to dining out,” concludes Sukhija.
In a nutshell
Inspired by a similar concept in Amsterdam, Sukhija and his team have spent the last month-and-ahalf transforming the interiors of Dragonfly, to help reassure customers and bring them back in through the doors