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hospitality 2.0

The other side…

Hospitality 2.0

Hi, Hospo friends & family,

Over the past few weeks, I have been chatting with a bunch of industry thought leaders (whilst we are all bunkered down) to start to explore “what our great industry may look like on the other side.” There have been some great insights, so I thought I would share these in the hope of shining a ray of hope, during a very difficult time.

 

The one clear thing is that our great industry will return, but there is a “new normal” awaiting us all – unlike anything we have seen. As the industry braces for its toughest challenge in our history, let us continue to remind ourselves:

  • Hospo will return. It’s an integral part of the Aussie lifestyle.
  • We are a resilient bunch & will make it through, but it will be tough.
  • The other side will be different. We need to be different also.

It’s a rare opportunity to rethink & rewrite a better business model

Whilst it won’t stop the bleeding and the heartache, the Job Seeker Subsidies and the Rental concessions have at least given us some much-needed breathing space & time to consider the “other side.”

As impossible as it may seem at this time, the government support has hopefully allowed us to peer through the fog of uncertainty & start to think how best to set ourselves up for once the crisis has passed and the doors open again (because they will!)

It’s fair to say that the industry was already on its knees – it’s a broken business model. If there is any positivity to come from this, perhaps the Covid-19 crisis is a rare opportunity for us collectively to rewrite the future of our great industry. Let’s not just open the doors and return to what we did before. Let’s use this as an opportunity to rewrite our history and create a better biz, a better industry, a better future.

Hospitality 2.0 (fingers crossed)

“History is the best predictor of the future”…. so let’s look at what happened post the GFC in 2007.

• It proved to be a “reset” for our industry. Despite Australia being relatively protected from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), it was still one of the most challenging periods in recent history…but importantly it didn’t last forever. Our love for eating out returned and our world-leading industry flourished again – but it took years, not months to return to normal.
• The consumer changed. Up & down the consumer ladder, they cut back on spending and spent less when they ate out.
• It forced a rapid change and arguable saw the end of “fine dining” as we knew it. Upmarket restaurants broadened their appeal by dispensing with “starched linen and starchy waiters”,
• Communal tables, small shared plates and street-food emerge as top trends as we try to adapt to a new, more price-sensitive customer.
• For the first time ever, we see the rate of closures exceeding the rate of openings, but the industry survived.
• Corporate spending came to a massive halt and took years before it returned to its former glory
• Hospitality industry went through a lot of pain, but we battled on and the industry recovered.
• Those that adapted to the new norm and the new customer continued to survive & thrive.

 

We will need to make some changes to the way we operate, we can’t just do what we always did.

Here are our 21 Predictions

Contactless dining experiences will be the norm
Customers attitudes won’t be the same – especially for close contact industries like restaurants. Customers will expect a “contactless” dining experience. We need to rethink printed menus, queue’s, payment, cutlery and delivery of food & drink.

Social distancing is here to stay, for a long while
A shock of this scale will create a shift in the preferences and expectations of our
customers. “Social distancing” is here to stay for a long while. We will need to rethink how
we space our tables, manage queues and interact at the table. Our customers will be
hygiene sensitive and will pick places that are clean and hygiene awareness.

New “high tech, low touch” restaurant concepts will emerge
Opportunities to push the envelope of technology adoption will be accelerated by desperation to
improve productivity. Businesses that reinvent themselves to make the most of improved
productivity, will disproportionately succeed. The result: New restaurant concepts that are low touch &
high tech. More efficient & more sustainable.

Thank you Pick-Up…but goodbye, for most
Takeaway & Pickup proved to be a saviour during lock-down (thank you)
but many will give-up after realising that it’s a different game, its just not
our thing and that we need to be obsessed over the diners in our dining
room.

Delivery will continue to boom!
Delivery will continue to boom as customers get hooked on
the convenience BUT there will be a “come to Jesus” moment
in relation to rates (I hope so anyway.)

Table service will need to readjust
The crisis will reveal not just vulnerabilities but opportunities to improve the performance of
our businesses. Leaders will need to reconsider which costs are truly fixed versus nice to have.
In simple terms, we will need to find ways to do more with less & make some tough decisions
regarding the way we operate.
Table service will come under pressure as operators will struggle to justify this level of service –
unless they are playing in the premium segment. Staff will be reallocated to areas of higher value
including hosting, connecting and more service-led roles.

It will take time to re-start again
There has been a massive disruption to our supply & demand at the same time – so it won’t be easy
just to restart again. We have come to a complete halt and won’t be able to just go again when the
doors do open. Credit lines have been cut. Suppliers may have fallen. Many workers have returned
home. Customers attitudes won’t be the same – especially for close contact industries like
restaurants

There will be a newfound appreciation for social connection
After many months of self-isolation, there will be a newfound appreciation
for interaction & connection with friends & family around the table. This is
our opportunity to shine and allow the magic to begin.

We will eat out less and spend less when we do
Much of the population will experience uncertainty and personal financial
stress. Customers will have less disposable income, so we will eat out less frequently &
spend less than ever. BUT we will still eat out. Menus need to be adjusted to reflect a more
price-sensitive customer.

We will revert to the staples we know
History says we revert to our staples during tough times. Less adventurous,
more traditional dining.

The health-conscious have some catching up to do
After having been locked away for an extended period of
time, customers will be more “health-conscious” than ever
and we will need to cater to that through our menus.

People won’t want to touch cash
The move towards a cashless society will accelerate as we avoid handling
“dirty” money. Those in the industry hanging on to cash-driven
businesses will be forced to evolve, fast.

tech savvy

We became a tech-savvy nation, overnight. Let’s ride the wave
Covid-19 forced a transformative shift in tech adoption – overnight. What normally would have taken a generation, literally took
days. From Zoom, to online banking, to home deliveries, to mygov, to working from home, tech is now the norm for everyone, not just millennials.
We now have a once in a generation opportunity to embrace tech to run our biz and improve efficiencies, without fear of customer push-back. We can choose to embrace it or be left behind.

The rise & rise of the suburban operator
We fell in love with the convenience of working from home (at times of
the day that suited us.) This will become much more common on the
other side and suburban hospo venues will boom as we realise we don’t
need to be paying premium CBD rents to get the corporate $$.

Tipping is over
This will be the final nail in the coffin of tipping. Customers
just won’t feel comfortable tapping a third-party device to
add 10% at the end of a meal.

traveller spenders

The big-spending tourist market won’t return for a long while
Travel, tourism, accommodation and large scale events will take years to recover.
If our biz is reliant on these sectors, let us find new sectors to replace them rather
than wait for them to return – which may be quite a few years. Go local.

When we open our doors again, the customer awaiting us will be different
Eat out less
Spend less
More price-sensitive
More hygiene conscious than ever
Expect contactless experiences
Value social connection more than ever
A newfound appreciation for what we do

dark kitchens, rise of take away

Dark Kitchens will cause us great pain
There will be the emergence of our greatest competitor yet – the “dark
kitchen” (by Ubereats and Deliveroo) which will mean they can deliver
food to customers homes at a fraction of the cost and sometimes just as
fast!

Everyone will try & squeeze into the mid-market
Post the GFC in 2008 we saw a huge boom in the “fast-casual” sector
which centred around value, speed and convenience. Post Covid-19 we
will further see an even bigger squeeze in this segment as premium
venues open the doors with a more affordable offering.

Fewer venues, fewer seats, but less competition
Unfortunately, there will be fewer venues and fewer seats on the other
side as predictions are that 25-35% of venues won’t re-open. For those
that make it, there will be less competition.

Landlords will need us more than ever
High vacancies will mean rent will be at an all-time low for new players looking to enter the
market. If the landlord doesn’t come to the table, we will move next door.

 

 

 10 Recommendations on how to prepare for the other side
1. In great periods of crisis, there is also a great opportunity. Let’s not just re-open the doors and do what we have always done.
Let’s prepare for Hospitality 2.0 – it will be different.
2. The customer will be different on the other side. More price-sensitive, more hygiene conscious, more health-conscious, more embracing of tech than ever before. Let’s be ready for that.
3. New restaurant biz models will emerge for those that embrace change and best satisfy the new needs of the customer on the other side.
4. Pick-up will fade (it’s not our core) but delivery will continue to boom.
5. It will take time for operators to restart again.
6. Corporate spending and Tourist dollars will be low to non-existent for a while. Let’s find other markets to offset this in the short-term.
7. The world has become more tech-savvy overnight. Let’s use this as a great opportunity to integrate tech into our business model to improve efficiencies, productivity and profitability.
8. There will be fewer competitors on the other side but we will need to compete with the emergence of our greatest competitor yet in the Dark Kitchens.
9. There will be a big squeeze into the mid-market / fast-casual space. It will be more important than ever to differentiate.
10. Whilst there will be lots of change, there is one great constant. Customers will continue to want to break bread with family and grab a beer with mates around a table. The need for social connection will only be greater.

“ For some organisations, near-term survival is the only agenda item. Others are peering through the fog of uncertainty, thinking about how to position themselves
once the crisis has passed and things return to normal. The question is, ‘What will normal look like?’ While no one can say how long the crisis will last, what we find
on the other side will not look like the normal of recent years.”

Stevan Premutico

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