Hospitality resilient in the face of pandemic

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s hugely negative impact on the hospitality industry across the globe, in Australia at least, many hospitality businesses chose to carry on and adapt to the new situation the crisis has brought about.

A survey conducted by hospitality service providers Mr. Yum, SilverChef, and InKind, revealed that despite the restrictions enforced as a result of the pandemic, only three in 10 hospitality businesses in Australia have completely closed during COVID-19. The majority (63 per cent) are still operating on a pick up and/or delivery basis. The revenue has, quite naturally, fallen below average, with only one in five hospitality businesses reporting at least half of their usual trade.

Staffing withion the sector remains a challenge. A third of hospitality businesses are operating with only less than 10 per cent of their usual staff working, while only one in 10 is operating with full teams. Nevertheless, many businesses are trying to retain staff so they can maximise their operations, with 68 per cent making use of their own staff to handle deliveries instead of relying on third-party services like Deliveroo and Uber Eats. In order to support their business and the staff they’re working with, 70 per cent of the operating hospitality businesses rely on JobKeeper to remain operational.

Hospitality business owners also expressed a slow return to “business as usual”, with 75 per cent saying that they expect this will take more that six months. While 27 per cent of business owners say that the post-COVID-19 environment may see improvements in business profitability, the majority have a somewhat pessimistic outlook, with 44 per cent saying they won’t be able to get better rent deals and 58 per cent believing that they would spend more on wage costs with the anticipated squeeze on jobs.

Almost half of business owners (49 per cent) also expressed concern ab=out a drop in consumer spending, while 46 per cent are worried about fierce price-led competition as part of the recovery.

Despite these concerns, 40 per cent of business owners believe that their business will be more resilient in the future thanks to diversified revenue streams implemented during the lockdown such as utilising e-commerce and offering takeaway transactions.

Two-thirds of those surveyed say that their business can survive another month under the current conditions. While the figures decrease by the each succeeding month (60 per cent for another two months and 52 per cent in three), they are still in the majority.

For many businesses, they believe innovation is a key factor. Almost three quarters of them believe that the industry will need to be more creative to entice consumers to spend and for the industry to make it through.

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