Published: Sep 14, 2020
COVID-19 has had an impact on every working sector across the globe - the hospitality industry being one of the hardest hit.
During earlier months of 2020, the nation was on its knees. Submissive to unexpected and unfamiliar government boundaries, breaking news demanded the general public avoid going out and to completely stay away from any hospitality and tourist hotspots.
The undoubted fear and intense pressure of what is yet to come still upholds a terrifying grip on the throat of the country.
Ultimately, the pandemic has led to a devastating impact on the economy. Coinciding with thousands of job losses, many businesses have had no choice but to shut their doors for good. Since restaurants, bars, pubs, cinemas have begun reopening to the public, the country has had no choice but to adapt in strange new ways.
With new measures in place, but as local lockdowns continue to happen, people are less inclined to spend money on material possessions. Instead, as a nation we are more likely than ever to indulge in activities we’ve missed out on this past year - including dining out, holidays and travel.
Accommodating these new regulations in order to save lives and protect the health of others is now considered as the ‘new normal’. Business owners everywhere have succumbed quickly to these new social measures, adapting at a fast pace to avoid damaging business reputations. Eating out has a whole new meaning, and it must be considered whether these vast adjustments could impact on social experiences later down the line.
Here is a quick summary of how the hospitality industry has adapted to the coronavirus pandemic.
More than ever before, restaurants are being forced into using online platforms to connect with customers. Long gone are the days of flicking through shiny menus in leather binders. As we evolve, the immediate use of scannable QR code technology signifies a bridged gap between a virtual world, and the physical one.
In a few short clicks, customers can place a food order via mobile phone with limited social interaction. For those less digitally inclined, some places intend on single-use menus to guarantee that hygiene standards are being met.
Overall, restaurants and hospitality services have slashed their food, drinks and overall service offerings to preserve cash flow. With limited staff available (and with many people still furloughed) - a streamlined menu is a guaranteed way to shed delivery complexities and unnecessary costs. Going forward, focusing solely on quality over quantity may be something more places preserve for years to come.
Here’s some food for thought: the start of the pandemic saw most eat-in hospitality businesses quickly adapt to new takeaway and delivery methods. In a sensible move to stay afloat, this sudden change to business models safeguarded the survival of the industry.
Whether it be promoting a safe food collection, or a takeaway service via an app, most of us would now consider takeaway options to now be an essential service for the economy. In a surprising twist, the start of the pandemic even saw people relying on takeaways when having difficulty finding food and stock in local supermarkets.
In a bid to get the nation back on its feet, a slow easing of restrictions in cafes, pubs, hotels and restaurants saw the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme provide a 50% discount to diners across the UK. But with new changes also comes new responsibilities.
Customers on individual tables must not exceed the number of 6, and social distancing measures means fewer tables are available and with limited capacity. Pre-booking your place at the table has never been more important in ensuring you’re guaranteed entry. This action of securing a booking has unfortunately backfired for many as we see a drastic rise in ‘no shows’ therefore causing detrimental costing issues and wasted time for local business.
Most businesses have gone the extra mile to buy perspex screens, temperature guns and sanitising stations to protect both customers and staff. Some have rejected the idea completely, deeming a new layout and limited seating as logistically impossible. For the time being, comprehensive plans post-lockdown means limited table numbers, wearing face masks, gloves, sanitising our hands and sacrificing seeing our loved ones are all compulsory to help prevent the spread of the virus.
It would be fair to conclude the hospitality industry, like many other sectors, has had no choice but to react positively to these new changes to prevent another national lockdown. A recent rise of 6.6% in economy growth shows a positive step forward.
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