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  • Mark Taylor FIH

The return of hospitality.....thank goodness!

So finally, Monday 17th May arrived and after months of waiting, hospitality nervously opened its doors- and it couldn't come soon enough for so many people across so many areas of the hospitality sector.

Figures just released show that especially within small businesses, COV-19 had a devastating impact with 5% of UK business now permanently closed; 25% of businesses have had to change completely their normal business operating models and over 75% of businesses have been affected by the COV-19 restrictions. In the hotel sector, the rent alone on hotels has amassed a debt of over £2.5 billion in rent arrears - so, I think it's safe to say, the sector is over the moon to be opening up.

Saying that, there are still some challenges facing the sector; demand for catering products & services is at max levels; bearing in mind that normal weekly replenishment is totally manageable, but when venues have been closed for months and months, their store cupboards are empty, so opening up means huge initial orders from wholesalers & suppliers. This has caused strain on supply, as many establishments wanted deliveries from the 14th May to the 17th.....

Another massive challenge is that of staffing... many people who sadly lost their roles, or were furloughed maybe moved away and changed careers in order to keep a wage coming in. Many have not returned to their original roles and now, there's a massive staffing shortage in the sector. Chef's; waiting staff; housekeeping staff and conference & banqueting roles are amongst the roles the industry is crying out for. There's now a huge recruitment drive to woo people back to hospitality as there are so many roles available. The Institute of Hospitality has literally thousands of roles on it's job site and that's the same for with over 21,000 jobs on offer.

Saying that, I think everyone agrees that now hotels are open; restaurants, pubs & bars can reopen; the leisure and entertainment sectors are now open (admittedly not back to total capacity), it's all positive. Now the sector needs confirmation around large events; trade exhibitions; large-scale meetings etc - we may not be able to have the influx of overseas visitors yet, but this will happen in time. 2022, is already having a very busy calendar of such events, so again, a much needed boost to the sector will the meantime, it's really important to support local hospitality businesses and even more importantly, if you can't make your booking - please cancel it, it's not fair on the venue to just not turn up.....they've been waiting for you for months and can fill that table over and over again.....

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