The commercial food services went through a lot of challenges this pandemic. Did you ever wonder how they managed to cope up with these challenges to stay in business? Let’s take a look at how the pandemic affected the food industry, what they did to stay resilient, and what we can learn about this situation.
Commercial food services like hotels, motels, resorts, restaurants, takeaway and fast food outlets, pubs, wine bars, food courts, clubs and all types of catering services are greatly affected by the pandemic. In general, most of them are not allowed to operate as part of the health protocol and restrictions mandated by the government. Some of them decided to shutdown and filed for bankruptcy. Others declared retrenchment and left a lot of people losing their jobs that actually made the situation worst for the economy. While some of them are able to operate in reduced capacity, workers are paid below minimum wage and rely on tips to make a living.
How did they manage to survive?
Resilience is key in this time of the pandemic. Here are some ways on how they did it.
As people are restricted to stay at home, the most effective way to reach out to the customers is to make the business available online. Ordering online were made available for the customer so that they have the option to buy food and have it delivered to them on time. Not all businesses have the capacity to have an online ordering website or app, but here is where social media is leveraged to showcase their menu, accept orders thru messaging, accept contactless online payments and book for delivery online.
Partner with food and delivery services
Delivery apps provided customers the convenience of having a one-stop shop for buying food and beverages. Restaurants, fast food and specialty shops are available in a single app. However, delivery apps has a minimum charge per order per merchant. Charges may vary per delivery app.
Allowing al fresco dining and reduced dine-in capacity
As the government start to ease restrictions, restaurant owners took the risk of opening at reduced capacity by offering limited seats for dine-in and al fresco dining. This option may hurt striving businesses by incurring additional operating cost but with proper management this will work. Workers are given the opportunity to earn more through tips from customers – unless you’re from Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Brazil, or Denmark where tipping is not required.
Laid off employees opened their own food business
Whether these employees came from the food service industry or not, a lot of food businesses started popping out. People started to research, use their skills and experiences to serve five-star quality food by starting their own food business. This will not only benefit customers, but the employees as well to make a living and further develop their creativity and skills. It also started to create a new batch of potential workers for the food industry.
Applied for financial aid and loans from the government
The government offered financial aid and loans to SMEs to help them get back to business or make up for the loss brought by the pandemic. Businesses may register online but only those with the required documents are entitled for the financial aid/loan.
Where do we go from here?
On a brighter note, both business owners and employees under commercial food services developed resiliency and started to give birth to new products and services. We should learn from these experiences and start cultivating the next generation so they know how to deal with this situation. Aside from setting the example, we can use simulation games to help children familiarize themselves with real life situations.
We can start with games to educate the children on how to run a restaurant business for example. I find this game, the Open Restaurant , so addicting as you try to strategize on how to effectively manage a restaurant. You can visit CulinarySchools.org for more educational and culinary-related online games that you and your children can enjoy.
As we continue to thrive in this pandemic, always remember that we are all capable to help ourselves get back on our feet and move on. There is always a way that is within our capacity and beyond, the thing is we have to do it – now.