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Restaurants in the era of social distancing

Restaurants in the era of social distancing
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  • Post #151 - April 27th, 2020, 11:54 am
    Post #151 - April 27th, 2020, 11:54 am Post #151 - April 27th, 2020, 11:54 am
    Nthing the Spice Room recommendation. Walked by yesterday and even through a mask and across the street, the smell was so enticing.
  • Post #152 - April 27th, 2020, 2:42 pm
    Post #152 - April 27th, 2020, 2:42 pm Post #152 - April 27th, 2020, 2:42 pm
    lougord99 wrote:Who would have thought that the Ravinia section of Highland Park would have so many take out places. In a 3 block section of Roger Williams you have:

    Pieros Pizza: https://pieropizza.com/
    BWB Rocks ( Burgers, Wings and Bowls) : https://www.bwb.rocks/
    Ravinia Brewing ( Tacos, Burritos and Quesadillas ) : https://www.raviniabrewing.com/
    Abigails ( upscale continental ) : http://abigails493.com/

    There is also Viaggio, but I don't think they are doing take out.

    From the City of Highland Park’s FB post:
    Several Highland Park restaurants have expanded beyond the menu to make life just a bit easier during this time. Country Kitchen offers a wide selection of produce and dairy items for same day purchase (curbside pickup or delivery). Or discover your inner chef with Abigail's American Bistro family burger kits, cook at home steaks and more, and Viaggio Highland Park pasta kits and Take and Make meals.
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #153 - April 27th, 2020, 6:42 pm
    Post #153 - April 27th, 2020, 6:42 pm Post #153 - April 27th, 2020, 6:42 pm
    Today we got carry-out from China Chef in Morton Grove. They're about a 10-15 minute drive from home. I decided to drive there first and then call in my order from the car once I got there, so I didn't have to worry about getting there in time. Good thing, too, since it only took them about 10-15 minutes to get the large-ish order ready, and I might not have been there in time.

    When I got there, the outside door was open, so I might have had a contactless experience if I wanted to walk in. But when I ordered over the phone and told them it was for carryout, they asked if it was for curbside pickup, and I said yes, which made it even easier (I told them the color and body style of my car). They put me on hold a couple of times while ordering, but that's minor and understandable, given that the entire restaurant is doing carryout and delivery. The whole process was quite easy. (It probably would have been even easier to order online, but one of the items I wanted is not on their standard menu.)

    When I got home the food was warm enough that we didn't need to reheat it, but not piping hot, because of the distance. The Mongolian beef was as good as it is when dining in. Some of the other dishes, particularly ones that were fried as part of their preparation, didn't travel all that well. We'll keep that in mind for next time.
  • Post #154 - April 30th, 2020, 3:20 am
    Post #154 - April 30th, 2020, 3:20 am Post #154 - April 30th, 2020, 3:20 am
    We made a couple of pre-orders for the upcoming week: Boka just started carryout, and we look forward to their whole roasted chicken dinner plus wine on Friday. Also, Alinea is offering a six-course menu for $49.95 pp, in honor of their 15th Anniversary, May 1-13. Fridays, Saturdays, and the first Sunday are sold out, so wanted to give a heads-up to anyone on this site who might be interested.
  • Post #155 - April 30th, 2020, 8:50 am
    Post #155 - April 30th, 2020, 8:50 am Post #155 - April 30th, 2020, 8:50 am
    We did RPM steak for a splurge take away meal (we have been doing a take home every Friday as a treat for making it through the week) and while it strayed from my "no big groups, stay in the neighborhood plan" it was very easy, and fast for pickup.

    Probably going to try Coast this week!
  • Post #156 - April 30th, 2020, 10:48 am
    Post #156 - April 30th, 2020, 10:48 am Post #156 - April 30th, 2020, 10:48 am
    nsxtasy wrote:Today we got carry-out from China Chef in Morton Grove. They're about a 10-15 minute drive from home. I decided to drive there first and then call in my order from the car once I got there, so I didn't have to worry about getting there in time. Good thing, too, since it only took them about 10-15 minutes to get the large-ish order ready, and I might not have been there in time.

    When I got there, the outside door was open, so I might have had a contactless experience if I wanted to walk in. But when I ordered over the phone and told them it was for carryout, they asked if it was for curbside pickup, and I said yes, which made it even easier (I told them the color and body style of my car). They put me on hold a couple of times while ordering, but that's minor and understandable, given that the entire restaurant is doing carryout and delivery. The whole process was quite easy. (It probably would have been even easier to order online, but one of the items I wanted is not on their standard menu.)

    When I got home the food was warm enough that we didn't need to reheat it, but not piping hot, because of the distance. The Mongolian beef was as good as it is when dining in. Some of the other dishes, particularly ones that were fried as part of their preparation, didn't travel all that well. We'll keep that in mind for next time.


    Ordered takeout last week and it was a massive disappointment for fried and non-fried alike. For fried it seemed like oil was not hot enough, lack of crispness aside it was just dripping oil. They're busy enough though.
  • Post #157 - April 30th, 2020, 2:37 pm
    Post #157 - April 30th, 2020, 2:37 pm Post #157 - April 30th, 2020, 2:37 pm
    spinynorman99 wrote:Ordered takeout last week and it was a massive disappointment for fried and non-fried alike. For fried it seemed like oil was not hot enough, lack of crispness aside it was just dripping oil. They're busy enough though.



    I live near by and order fairly often. I've learned to shy away from ordering there early in the week, especially at lunch. Every restaurant should have a consistent product, but I think China Chef has an A team and a B team.

    When the A team is at work, they're still pretty good.

    Giovanna
    =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=

    "Enjoy every sandwich."

    -Warren Zevon
  • Post #158 - May 1st, 2020, 7:02 am
    Post #158 - May 1st, 2020, 7:02 am Post #158 - May 1st, 2020, 7:02 am
    Food that travels is the future. Drive-thru, carry-out, and delivery are the safest methods, allowing restaurants to stay in business at this time. Social distancing in a restaurant will have many challenges. especially with HVAC systems.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/bradjaphe/ ... d867fc1f39

    CSD
    Mark A Reitman, PhD
    Professor of Hot Dogs
    Hot Dog University/Vienna Beef
  • Post #159 - May 1st, 2020, 8:49 am
    Post #159 - May 1st, 2020, 8:49 am Post #159 - May 1st, 2020, 8:49 am
    That defeats a big part of the reason for going out to eat. It probably is not sustainable for most current establishments. In the short term, the ones that can go to a skeleton crew and control expenses as a whole may pull through.
  • Post #160 - May 1st, 2020, 4:21 pm
    Post #160 - May 1st, 2020, 4:21 pm Post #160 - May 1st, 2020, 4:21 pm
    Chicago restaurant owners look ahead to reopening with optimism and fear

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavi ... story.html
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #161 - May 1st, 2020, 8:24 pm
    Post #161 - May 1st, 2020, 8:24 pm Post #161 - May 1st, 2020, 8:24 pm
    Puckjam wrote:That defeats a big part of the reason for going out to eat. It probably is not sustainable for most current establishments. In the short term, the ones that can go to a skeleton crew and control expenses as a whole may pull through.


    Here's an early example:
    https://chicago.eater.com/2020/1/10/210 ... ening-soon

    CSD
    Mark A Reitman, PhD
    Professor of Hot Dogs
    Hot Dog University/Vienna Beef
  • Post #162 - May 2nd, 2020, 11:34 am
    Post #162 - May 2nd, 2020, 11:34 am Post #162 - May 2nd, 2020, 11:34 am
    I think restaurants will have to operate on a take out mode for quite some time. Even if they can open, they will probably be restricted on capacity and forced to reduced their tables. Also many people just won't go to eat in a restaurant because they are too scared.

    Also one other note is I said Steamboat BBQ was closed for now but they opened up a few weeks ago and have a on line ordering app. They do sell out quickly, we are slated to get take out from them tonight.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #163 - May 4th, 2020, 7:00 pm
    Post #163 - May 4th, 2020, 7:00 pm Post #163 - May 4th, 2020, 7:00 pm
    I got curbside pickup from Alinea today (thanks to the earlier heads up post by Smassey, to whom I am eternally grateful). The pickup process was incredibly easy - pay in advance on Tock, they send you an email ahead of time with instructions (e.g. pull up with your flashers on). I got there at 4:30, figuring this might not be as busy as a later reservation, LOL - I was the seventh car in line. :lol: After rolling forward when able, one person checks you in on a handheld device, and another puts the food in your car (contactless, they just reach through the open window), and off you go.

    I love how they packaged the meal. Each course is a labeled, self-contained kit, with ingredients separated as needed - "some assembly required". They include detailed instructions as well as some background information about each course. This week the menu is a bit special, for their 15th anniversary (seven courses rather than the usual three), and is ample enough to spread over two dinners. The three courses we've had so far were amazing, and comparable in complexity and deliciousness to ones we've had at the restaurant - exceeding my wildest expectations. Bravo to the Alinea team!

    EDIT: I've posted photos of the meal in the Alinea topic.
    Last edited by nsxtasy on May 5th, 2020, 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #164 - May 5th, 2020, 9:35 am
    Post #164 - May 5th, 2020, 9:35 am Post #164 - May 5th, 2020, 9:35 am
    Excellent article posing major issues w/reopening restaurants. https://www.forbes.com/sites/chriswestfall/2020/05/02/the-4-reasons-why-reopening-could-crush-the-restaurant-industry/?fbclid=IwAR1NRemzlkNGz1L4vOqpt3JVmBKj4fNWEhiYRYilXs7YA8yZA7b3o8YmpDU#143b7efb11cd
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #165 - May 5th, 2020, 10:23 am
    Post #165 - May 5th, 2020, 10:23 am Post #165 - May 5th, 2020, 10:23 am
    That's a brutally harsh and true article Jazzfood.
  • Post #166 - May 5th, 2020, 10:36 am
    Post #166 - May 5th, 2020, 10:36 am Post #166 - May 5th, 2020, 10:36 am
    Moving fwd smartly will be brutally harsh, but hard truth is what's needed to reinvent an industry or for that matter, society in general.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #167 - May 7th, 2020, 5:13 am
    Post #167 - May 7th, 2020, 5:13 am Post #167 - May 7th, 2020, 5:13 am
    As Restaurants Remain Shuttered, American Cities Fear the Future
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/07/us/p ... ticleShare
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #168 - May 7th, 2020, 10:29 am
    Post #168 - May 7th, 2020, 10:29 am Post #168 - May 7th, 2020, 10:29 am
    This post may not be "on topic" but it will impact restaurants quite a bit.

    When sit-down restaurants reopen in the coming month(s), I do not plan to rush back and start eating out again, especially at the frequency that I did before the pandemic.

    First, my food expense in the last 60 days has been approximately half of what I spent per month last year. This is despite the fact that there have been NO sales at Krogers and Safeway in the past two months. This is despite the fact that I have not been in a grocery store for 60 days to hit the discount bins and no stops at the dollar stores.

    Second, during this period, I have lost about ten pounds. I have NOT been trying to lose weight and have been snacking MORE than ever. We certainly have not tried to eat lessand my wife is baking stuff 3x per week. It is NOT that I have been exercising as the local pools and gyms are closed. I have been walking outside a lot less as many refuse to practice social distancing or wear masks.

    Third, perhaps out of boredom, I have been working on my cooking skills and been trying new recipes. In many cases, what I can make at home is better than what I can get at many of the local restaurants.

    This has been two months where I have been able to cancel all of my activities and become "less busy."
  • Post #169 - May 7th, 2020, 10:40 am
    Post #169 - May 7th, 2020, 10:40 am Post #169 - May 7th, 2020, 10:40 am
    I wish I could say the same. I have been cooking more, but have not lost any weight. I just heard that 20% of Wendy restaurants are out of hamburger. They only use fresh hamburger in their hamburgers.
  • Post #170 - May 7th, 2020, 11:45 am
    Post #170 - May 7th, 2020, 11:45 am Post #170 - May 7th, 2020, 11:45 am
    jlawrence01 wrote:This post may not be "on topic" but it will impact restaurants quite a bit.

    When sit-down restaurants reopen in the coming month(s), I do not plan to rush back and start eating out again, especially at the frequency that I did before the pandemic.


    Your experience is pretty closely mirroring mine (sorry I cut off most of your quote....but I figured better to save space). Plus going out with my wife and kids had gotten to be pretty frustrating AND expensive pre-pandemic. I was actually thinking about our cooking vs. average restaurant bills last night.

    My boys are 9 and 12, but even if they're technically eligible for kids' menus, their appetites are squarely planting a flag on the adult side (although they'll still accept the crayons). So if we go to one of our preferred neighborhood joints, our typical ordering is 1 appetizer ($6 to $8); 4 entrees (at least $12 each, but let's be real, most or many places have been embracing the $15 burger); two beers each for the Mrs. and I (so 4 beers at 6 bucks a pop). Even using the low figures, we're at $78, which is $86 with tax, and then $103.00 with tip.

    That's a pretty staggering figure when you think about it. For a hundred bucks, I can buy my sons a brand new XBox/PS4 game (or 2-4 games if I go used); a case of beer for me and the wife (or a couple sixers of nice craft beer); and whip up some pretty decent burgers, guac, queso, and similar items I'd get at the restaurant.

    Is my cooking restaurant quality? Nope, but it's close and getting better (and probably surpasses some of our lesser meals). And my kids are getting in on the action too. My son wanted Chic-Fil-A the other day. I won't eat there during non-end-of-days regardless (no need for a political discussion here, I just don't like it. Let's leave it at that). So my son looked up CFA's secret sauce online, found a recipe, and then begged me to let him make it (fyi, it's bbq sauce, honey, yellow mustard, and mayo. Always mayo). We had a lot of fun whipping it up the sauce and pan frying some frozen chicken tenders.

    Anyway, I don't see us returning to restaurants with the same frequency when things start to return. The Anxiety+Cost just aren't worth it. And to be clear, that does make me feel bad for many of the restaurant owners/workers. I know it's a tough business with razor slim margins. And I hope that we can continue to support the local businesses with innovative and adventurous fare (even if my cooking is getting better, there's some things I'll never achieve). But I think that support will be more special occasion and takeout based.

    If there's any silver lining in this, maybe we'll see a thinning of the herd when it comes to mediocre, overpriced, chain bullshit. I'm okay with Cheesecake Factory, it's alright for what it is...but I can't see any reason that I'd ever pay for the privilege of eating there again. And the world does not need any more brewpubs with a signature burger (all some variation on the Au Cheval formula) and a large pretzel served with cheese sauce made from their seasonal IPA (no more fucking IPA's either).

    Anyway, sorry this dragged on and got a bit ranty.
  • Post #171 - May 7th, 2020, 2:33 pm
    Post #171 - May 7th, 2020, 2:33 pm Post #171 - May 7th, 2020, 2:33 pm
    jellob1976 wrote:If there's any silver lining in this, maybe we'll see a thinning of the herd when it comes to mediocre, overpriced, chain bullshit.


    Unfortunately, I think the exact opposite will happen. Chains have the money to weather this. It's the chef owner that will most likely go down the drain.
  • Post #172 - May 7th, 2020, 4:14 pm
    Post #172 - May 7th, 2020, 4:14 pm Post #172 - May 7th, 2020, 4:14 pm
    lougord99 wrote:
    jellob1976 wrote:If there's any silver lining in this, maybe we'll see a thinning of the herd when it comes to mediocre, overpriced, chain bullshit.


    Unfortunately, I think the exact opposite will happen. Chains have the money to weather this. It's the chef owner that will most likely go down the drain.
    I agree most chains will have the resources to weather this and many small restaurants will close. But many will replace them too. Economies contract and expand. There was an article in December 2019 that said there were way too many restaurants in Chicago and something had to give.
  • Post #173 - May 7th, 2020, 7:42 pm
    Post #173 - May 7th, 2020, 7:42 pm Post #173 - May 7th, 2020, 7:42 pm
    lougord99 wrote:
    jellob1976 wrote:If there's any silver lining in this, maybe we'll see a thinning of the herd when it comes to mediocre, overpriced, chain bullshit.


    Unfortunately, I think the exact opposite will happen. Chains have the money to weather this. It's the chef owner that will most likely go down the drain.


    You're probably correct, but a man can dream.
  • Post #174 - May 7th, 2020, 10:43 pm
    Post #174 - May 7th, 2020, 10:43 pm Post #174 - May 7th, 2020, 10:43 pm
    lougord99 wrote:
    Unfortunately, I think the exact opposite will happen. Chains have the money to weather this. It's the chef owner that will most likely go down the drain.



    It really depends on the chain. Nation's Restaurant News noted after market close that Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes will file for bankruptcy shortly. I think that reading that filing will be much like reading the bankruptcy filing for the City of Detroit. How can that restaurant continue to operate in an environment where you can only be 25-40% full and that all items must be served? It is a hopeless situation that even a strong chain probably cannot survive.

    I think that some chains like Cheddars and Popeye's have done pretty well even with the restrictions.
  • Post #175 - May 8th, 2020, 7:42 am
    Post #175 - May 8th, 2020, 7:42 am Post #175 - May 8th, 2020, 7:42 am
    jlawrence01 wrote:This post may not be "on topic" but it will impact restaurants quite a bit...

    As with Jellob1976, your entire post speaks to me, jlawrence.

    The impact on our household's "bottom line" has been tremendous, and for the good. We are retired, so there were no appreciable revenue streams to lose, but boy, have our expenses gone down. And I'd add, they've gone down to something I regard, with the benefit of hindsight, as more sensible than what they were.

    For us, it's not going to restaurants, plus an expense related to that. We had got into the habit of using Uber to get to and from many restaurants. And for safety reasons as well as comfort, we were using the higher-end Ubers. I didn't really have a grasp on how much that was costing us until it stopped.

    Mrs. riddlemay has enjoyed cooking all our meals, and I have enjoyed eating them. :)

    And, like you, we have lost weight.

    In many ways, the current state of affairs is preferable to the previous one. (I shouldn't have to add that in most other ways, it's calamitous, but I will add that anyway.) I hope that when "this is all over" (assuming it ever is), we will retain some of our newfound beneficial practices.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #176 - May 8th, 2020, 8:47 am
    Post #176 - May 8th, 2020, 8:47 am Post #176 - May 8th, 2020, 8:47 am
    It's a small sample size, to be sure. But boy is it disheartening to hear the exact community restaurants exist to serve say they're prepared to abandon restaurants.
  • Post #177 - May 8th, 2020, 9:31 am
    Post #177 - May 8th, 2020, 9:31 am Post #177 - May 8th, 2020, 9:31 am
    MikeL wrote:It's a small sample size, to be sure. But boy is it disheartening to hear the exact community restaurants exist to serve say they're prepared to abandon restaurants.

    Well, I didn't hear anyone say they would "abandon" restaurants entirely if and when the pandemic is over, but they might reduce their frequency of dining out.

    While I've seen the same effect on my budget of not dining out, I'd be happy to return to doing so with the same frequency as before. Just not as long as there's a non-zero chance of contracting a life-threatening disease by doing so. And I expect that the number and variety of restaurant choices will be diminished by the time this is over, which could affect how often I do so.
  • Post #178 - May 8th, 2020, 12:30 pm
    Post #178 - May 8th, 2020, 12:30 pm Post #178 - May 8th, 2020, 12:30 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:
    MikeL wrote:It's a small sample size, to be sure. But boy is it disheartening to hear the exact community restaurants exist to serve say they're prepared to abandon restaurants.

    Well, I didn't hear anyone say they would "abandon" restaurants entirely if and when the pandemic is over, but they might reduce their frequency of dining out.

    While I've seen the same effect on my budget of not dining out, I'd be happy to return to doing so with the same frequency as before. Just not as long as there's a non-zero chance of contracting a life-threatening disease by doing so. And I expect that the number and variety of restaurant choices will be diminished by the time this is over, which could affect how often I do so.



    I am a Cincinnati native and I have friends and family who work or have worked at P&G. And yes, I am from a P&G family. When I was 10, if you asked me about Colgate, I would have thought you were talking about a college, not toothpaste as the only toothpastes I ever saw were Crest and Gleem.

    I remember a conversation that I participated in with a lot of P&G folks back in 2008. At that time, there was a trend that a lot of people were leaving the most popular brands (Tide, etc.) for less expensive brands (i.e., Purex). Most of them were very confident that when the economy recovered, people would be back. I was skeptical. There are a lot of people who decided in 2008 to check places like Aldi out or who started buying Purex to save money who decided that they liked the less expensive brand. Did you notice that ten years later, there is a Tide Simple which is priced much closer to Purex and other less expensive brands? P&G has spent years trying to regain market share in some of their most profitable brands.

    When this whole situation settles in three month or two years depending on who you listen to, I do not know what is going to happen. My crystal ball is cracked and out of commission. However, I will make the following predictions:

    1) Some restaurants formats will be toast. How do you operate a buffet format at a time when there is an infectious disease? This crisis is living proof that you cannot trust adults to follow the same sanitation standards that most of us were taught in 3rd grade?

    2) Many people out there have not had a steady paycheck in weeks and are relying on UI. At the current time, that may be equal or greater than their usual pay. However, when that ends, the average person will not have the level of disposable income that they have had in the past.

    3) In Arizona, we have another two or three state mandated minimum wage increases in the coming years. I think that will accelerate the closure of a number of independents that are still open. The significant price increases we have seen in "Sit down" restaurants has already caused quite a lot of closures and gradual trend toward the fast casual restaurants where you order at the counter and the food is dropped off to you like Culvers or El Pollo Loco.

    4) There are a lot of great options out there in the supermarket sector. Locally, I can walk into one of the Mexican groceries and sit down to a 1/2 gallon of Caldo de res with tortillas for $6.50 or I can head to the restaurant and pay $12. The former will take me 20 minutes; the latter 45. Cardenas Market, a SoCal Mexican grocery, has recently come into a market with a Mexican version of HyVee's fresh food selection. Kroger could do something similar BUT outside of their "SHOW" stores in Cincinnati, they never make a commitment to make the prepared foods work/

    5) In addition to the hot food you can get in supermarkets, look at the number of "cook at home options" that all the places are using. While they are very grossly overpriced to me, my neighbors get them and are really impressed. As expensive as they are, they are about half the price of eating out.

    6) I do not want to make this yet another tipping thread BUT some people locally believe that since servers have received a very substantial increase in wages over the past three years (which is now built into the price), why are we still pushed to tip 20-25%. I have heard this from a number of people in the past two years, including people in the industry.

    7) A lot of restaurants have NOT kept up with the times. While I live in the Tucson area, I have to admit that I have only eaten in a traditional Mexican sit-down restaurant once in the last two years. I like Mexican food. However, I do not like the fact that to order an entree at a lot of these places, I have to get dried out rice and pinto beans in some form. I do not find that at a lot of the fast casual places.
  • Post #179 - May 8th, 2020, 2:52 pm
    Post #179 - May 8th, 2020, 2:52 pm Post #179 - May 8th, 2020, 2:52 pm
    "no more fucking IPA's"

    Amen brother. Amen.
    Last edited by hoppy2468 on May 8th, 2020, 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #180 - May 8th, 2020, 3:20 pm
    Post #180 - May 8th, 2020, 3:20 pm Post #180 - May 8th, 2020, 3:20 pm
    MikeL wrote:It's a small sample size, to be sure. But boy is it disheartening to hear the exact community restaurants exist to serve say they're prepared to abandon restaurants.


    I don't disagree, even though I'm one of the ones that may be abstaining (or reducing restaurant visits). But like others said, I'm not planning on abandoning restaurants....just being more selective. Part of that's financial; part of it's health reasons; and part of that's general concern over being in crowded public spaces. I definitely still intend to support my favorite neighborhood (and city) restaurants...but the random Tuesday nights out where we drop a hundred bucks on a few burgers/salads and drinks. I think that's a thing of the past.

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