14 Jan 2021 by Charles Manners
How we see it so far
Hospitality remains becalmed and despite the welcome financial support the sector is in a very precarious situation and there will continue to be businesses that will cease trading as we come out of the current lockdown.
We are fully supportive of the need for greater targeted financial assistance including further VAT and business rates relief
660,000+ employees and rising, have lost jobs and are seeking re-employment, not always in hospitality, which could lead to skill shortages in the future
Continued, seemingly illogical decisions by our politicians add uncertainty
What is becoming clear
- UK Hospitality and Kate Nicholls is providing one voice in presenting our industry, her OBE is well deserved
- Whilst Covid has brought unprecedented challenges, it has also prompted our industry to innovate and find new ways of working
- As a result of COVID-19 many of our activities have been reactive, we must now plan for the longer term
Planning for the future
In the second quarter of the year we will see the effects of the vaccines and customer confidence will return, however it is likely that some form of restrictions will remain whilst local infections continue.
Communication continues to be transformed through online platforms, engaging with customers clients and staff is key
Relationships are being developed with alternative suppliers, local and more able to meet flexible demands
Technology that was already in use is being adopted by caterers and customers alike as wallets and purses are abandoned in favour of phones and apps for everything from payment to loyalty points, to ordering, self-scanning and special offers; the need to reduce payroll has not gone away!
What will the future look like
With the vaccination programme ramping up workplaces, entertainment venues, stadia and shops will begin to open customers behaviours formed during 2020 will continue to drive change
The pandemic will leave a legacy of a different style of food and service across all sectors , with reduced offers and services being blended using less resource
Delivery and the use of dark/cloud kitchens direct to the workplace, desk and home via meal kits will continue and grow
The pandemic has created renewed support for British suppliers and local businesses which hospitality operators should be looking to capitalise on through their marketing
When cafes, pubs and restaurants have re-opened they have shown that the human need for social interaction is a basic need and food and the eating experience is so important for everyone