Sunil Soni Chef
GLOBAL CULINARY Advisor & International Brand Ambassador
COVID pandemic started in early 2020 and has engulfed the world with high rates of deaths and disability. Initial panic lead to closing of almost all businesses, this was followed by complete lockdown across the affected world. India was not spared either. Hardest hit industries were travel and hospitality. Almost all hotels and restaurants were shut down along with airlines and most means of long distance traveling.
This shut down affected people directly and indirectly, those who lost jobs and wages and the businesses that couldn’t survive. Times continue to be tough. After more than a year the situation is still grave. At the beginning of the year things seem to have gotten under control but a new wave of infection is sweeping across the country forcing things to come to a halt again.
We need to figure out how to survive and thrive in this environment. We need to learn newer ways to do business and boost revenues both in the current situation and in post covid world. Pandemic should teach us how to cut costs in all aspects of hospitality business yet provide quality product.
Restaurants also need to figure out how to produce good quality food without much overhead costs. Since people are not eating out much the actual space are a big waste and a huge overhead. Less manpower is needed to serve. Kitchen load is less too. Cutting costs also include less waste of raw material by analyzing and foreseeing the needs. Efficient use of manpower will improve costs.
Once there is a product it needs to be delivered to the consumers. Clever marketing and advertising using internet forums and websites will boost business. But to boost the business other means of delivering food to the customers need to be explored. In other countries delivery businesses have cropped up e.g. in USA companies like Doordash and Grubhub are delivering quality freshly prepared food at the doorsteps of customers in a hygienic and efficient manner. These delivery systems can employ persons hence adding to the economy, they can collaborate with restaurants for delivering food efficiently. This system can be used for both high end restaurants and local popular food places. All these systems need to be presented in a pleasing and attractive manner to the consumers so that they can order and consume the product easily.
In order to gain confidence of customers the system should be developed in all spheres. This includes hygiene of businesses including work space and workers. They should be disease free and persons should be almost practicing quarantine habits while at work and off work. Social distancing should be the norm and personal gears including hand hygiene and barriers (gloves, masks, plexiglass barriers across the business space) should be mandatory. Regular COVID testing should be done to ensure this and all workers should be encouraged to get vaccinated. If the space is open for eating then adequate distance should be maintained between seating arrangements.
New challenges also open new venues and we should constantly be ready to change according to the needs to survive and thrive.
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