What Are The Challenges Facing The Hospitality Industry?
The food and hospitality industry is currently facing a variety of challenges. It’s important to learn how to adapt and change in order to survive.
A Multi-Functioning Machine
'Necessity is the mother of invention'. Of all the self-help adages designed to motivate and fire-up us up, this is our go-to in times of trouble. Whatever dishes, ideas and concepts went from prep to pass before, they were just a snapshot of the possibilities that your kit, mind and premises are capable of delivering. Fortunately, a ‘can do’, forward thinking attitude is a key part of our psyche as chefs - as confirmed in a recent study we undertook, which found 79% of chefs agreed “the hospitality industry needs to be more creative in what it does to survive.
”Take Michelin star chef James Sommerin as a testament to that way of thinking, as he produced thousands of meals a week for NHS staff in lockdown from the confines of his fine-dining Penarth-based kitchen. London and Oxford based Neapolitan pizza dons Pizza Pilgrims creatively came up with ‘Pizza in the Post’ - at home pizza making kits as an innovative delivery option – selling hundreds online in minutes when they were unable to open their doors to the public. While other restaurants were closing for good around them, Seattle-based, fine dining restaurant Canlis created a drive-through burger joint in their car park, a pop-up bagel shop and an at-home dinner delivery service.
Ways To Adapt To Challenges Within The Hospitality Industry
In order to compete within the hospitality industry, it’s important to adapt to keep up with emerging consumer trends. Here are a few things to consider for your business.
Rethink Your Space
One of the biggest challenges facing the industry currently (and maybe for some time to come) is that of compensating for reduced cover capacity. But as capacities were cut by one third, walls and other physical boundaries were found not to be quite as rigid as originally thought. Government flexibility on the use of parking areas and terraces has offered the opportunity to get creative with outdoor space. The British climate may not offer the guarantee of double-your-capacity alfresco dining of our southern European neighbours, but it's amazing what some well-thought out gazebos, pergolas, fire pits, glowing BBQ's and cosy portable furnishings can deliver. It’s no surprise then to find that 56% of chefs surveyed in our study “have already considered outdoor dining as a new way forward”.
Take It Online
Those that have adapted to take-out and delivery have, in many cases, found it to be not only a business life-saver, but a new opportunity for the future too. With 72% of chefs surveyed saying they have “considered takeaway or delivery services as a result of Covid-19”, this has to be one of the greatest areas for growth and development in the years to come. It also presents the ideal opportunity to get internet savvy. From social media to Shopify, there are online opportunities for us to take our product to a wider audience while, at the same time, boosting communication and loyalty to an existing customer base. It doesn’t have to mean paying big bucks to a digital agency either. Rob Howell, Head Chef of Root in Bristol and author of Root cookbook, explained how his wife and Restaurant Manager “has brought a massive amount to the business in these times, creating a whole new website and setting up a shop online, as well as putting all the systems in place to support the take away side of the business - and that is priceless.”
Covid has put a magnifying glass over society as a whole and offered us the opportunity to embrace ideas and innovation in all walks of life. But as the opening mantra shows - the people and professions who have been the hardest hit respond with the finest performances. To quote Sodexo Culinary Ambassador (Food Development and Innovation) for UK & Ireland, David Mulcahy: “Chefs don’t just love a challenge. We thrive on it. The more difficult the task the more we will overcome and deliver amazing results. We must change our behaviours, habits and core beliefs so that we can be as agile and creative to meet what is without doubt a new and exhilarating future.” Inspiring words indeed.