How does the hospitality sector master the Covid-19 Crisis?
Watch British experts discuss the challenges
There is no doubt that the Covid-19 crisis has thrown everything into the air for the hospitality industry. The challenge is not just about surviving lockdown, it is how to change and adapt businesses to a whole new world of social distancing and to increase levels of hygiene.
Ex-chef Phil Walley, now Meiko UK Regional Sales Manager London, hosts an online discussion with Alan Bird, Chef Consultant, and Bruno Milin MIH, Mobilisation Manager for Chartwells Independent.
The trio has experience of catering in the restaurant, hotel and contract catering sectors, especially education. They explored ways to help caterers overcome the Covid-19 crisis, discussing the themes of Making Good Use of Time, Re-opening & Hygiene, and Staff & Client Support.
On the theme of Making Good Use of Time, the panel discusses the different ways to use enforced 'spare' time, from reviewing processes at work to revising training procedures. Chefs and managers can support each other and even though they are sitting alone, the use of phones, internet, email and social media allows chefs and managers to talk or otherwise communicate with colleagues to share ideas, ask questions and find out what is going on elsewhere in the UK.
"At the moment the best way forward is to unite and come together as an industry, to share ideas and look at solutions.
Phil Walley, Meiko UK Regional Sales Manager London and Ex-chef
The huge issue of re-opening a restaurant, hotel or catering business was debated as the UK was still talking about taking the first steps to come out of lockdown – what will the future look like, how soon and for how long.
Our panel of experts looked first at the issues of Hygiene and how to give customers the confidence to come back to the restaurant or canteen. They talked over ensuring that the offer is going to be safe and healthy, as social distancing demands. But the flip side is that the offer still has to be made attractive to the customer; not too strange, nor too expensive due to the new social distancing measures, which effectively halve turnover.
There may be months to go before staff return from furlough. Some may never return. When discussing Staff & Client Support, the panel pointed out the benefits of not ignoring the team members who are not working. Catering operators want to retain their best employees and they also discussed communicating with employees to maintain close contact even though on furlough. Continuing to keep employees involved could prove crucial for the future.