How Do We Dine 6 Feet Apart?

How Do We Dine 6 Feet Apart?

Restaurants are planning their reopening and reinventing the dining scene.

As restaurants plan their reopening, they are learning about new safety protocols, finding out how Asian restaurants adapted, and developing new guidelines on their own. The challenges abound as restaurateurs have to create a safe and inviting environment while discarding features that used to attract diners. The reopening process will be gradual, and its success uncertain. It does not appear to be an opportunity to start from scratch but rather to build on a good reputation developed before the crisis.


Video Spotlight: Reopening Restaurants with Caution


This post is based on The New York Times article, Safe Dining? Hard to Imagine, but Many Restaurants Are Trying, by K. Severson, April 26, 2020, and the YouTube video, Reopen or Stay Closed: Georgia Restaurants Face a Hard Choice, by The Washington Post, April 27, 2020. Image source: Onoky/SuperStock.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the challenges that restaurateurs face as they decide to reopen?

Guidance: The challenges involve modifying their operations in the face of uncertainty. They include: 1) predicting demand and determining appropriate inventory levels, 2) creating checklists for cleaning and food preparation, 3) eliminating some signature Continue reading

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COVID-19 Exposes the Fragility of Our Global Supply Chains

COVID-19 Exposes the Fragility of Our Global Supply Chains

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. What happens when several links are weak?

If you think shortages of consumer products and personal protective equipment are worrisome, think again. Despite prior warnings that pandemics may paralyze our supply chains, we may soon run out of many other goods, including food and critical vaccines. Deep, scattered supply chains and reliance on a few global suppliers have hindered our ability to respond quickly to changes in demand. As it turns out, a lean supply chain may not be an agile one.


Video Spotlight: Making Vaccines


This post is based on the FiveThirtyEight article, How COVID-19 Is Wreaking Havoc on our Ability to Make Things – Including Vaccines, by M. Koerth, April 15, 2020, and the YouTube video, Vaccine Manufacture: It’s Complicated, by GSK, May 4, 2016. Image source: Shutterstock/Ienetstan.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the current hurdles in the manufacture of vaccines?

Guidance: The hurdles include: ingredient sourcing (thousands of ingredients coming from factories with many tiers of suppliers; limited quantities of materials to meet surging global demand), worldwide shortage of glass since 2015, and heavy reliance on overseas suppliers and manufacturers.

2. What are Continue reading

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Could Coronavirus Deal a Fatal Blow to the U.S. Postal Service?

Could Coronavirus Deal a Fatal Blow to the U.S. Postal Service?

The U.S. Postal Service’s financial health may be too fragile to fight the coronavirus.

The volume of first-class mail, the agency’s main source of revenue, has been declining for years, and the coronavirus has accelerated the downward trend. At a time when people are increasingly ordering online, one might think that the surge in package deliveries would offset these losses. Unfortunately, debt obligations tied to pre-funding retiree benefits 75 years into the future have made it impossible for the USPS to remain solvent. Should it get bailed out like so many other organizations?


Video Spotlight: COVID-19 and the USPS


This post is based on the NBCNews article, Could Coronavirus Deal a Fatal Blow to the U.S. Postal Service?, by A. García-Hodges and H. Talbot, April 15, 2020, and the YouTube video, The Impact COVID-19 Is Having on the US Postal Service, by WGN News, April 16, 2020. Image source: BassittART/E+/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Besides the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, what are the reasons why the USPS experiences chronic, financial problems?

Guidance: The reasons include: decreasing volumes of first-class mail due to the rise of email; universal service to all urban and rural Continue reading

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