After months of being closed, the hospitality sector is back into a nearly full swing as lockdown rules are eased, but takings are still down pre pandemic.
The balmy weather of the May bank holiday encouraged people to beer gardens all around the UK.
Weatherspoon’s once again is packed with drinkers keen to sit with their friends and blow the froth off a few.
Sadly over the last few years, many restaurants have closed in the same way as the decline in the high street, as consumer habits have changed.
Certainly lockdown has forced many restaurants to close, both independents and chain restaurants.
In the last few years we have seen companies such as Deliveroo and Just Eat pop up. Instead of restaurants delivering food themselves to customers, the customers go to food delivery companies and pay an additional fee to have restaurants deliver at home.
We have seen these companies even more during lockdown, as people crave a piece of ‘normal’ to have Nandos or McDonalds at home rather than in a restaurant. They are willing to pay a premium for the delivery company as well.
Restaurants have been competing since the very first restaurant opened, however the competition now, as lockdown restrictions eased is higher than ever.
Since March 2020 the hospitality sector was told to close, to offer take away only. This means that millions of staff were put on furlough or dismissed.
Now that restaurants have re-opened, there is a huge shortage of staff. Front of house, waiters, bar staff are all needed and some restaurants are offering cash incentives for them to come in.
Re-opening restaurants has both a bitter sweet taste to it.
Lockdown gave many restaurant owners a chance to pause and reflect, to consider how the changing environment of retail is taking it’s toll.
Pub closures in the UK have been going on for over a decade, as the local pub changed as society changed post WW2.
The future of the hospitality and retail sector are closely linked, as one feeds off of the other, both are in the process of change.
We have seen the high street give way to the shopping centre, now with many shopping centres having empty units, the future is unknown.
People still enjoy eating out, and a variety of restaurants is important. How to stand out in the crowd and keep diners consistently coming back is uncertain during these times of change.