With Coronavirus, the dreaded Covid-19 looming around. Bars, restaurants and hotels are losing customers fast. the food and drink industry are feeling the affect of reduced tourism and lack of social gatherings.
Bars, restaurants and hotels have seen a massive influx of booking cancellations. My social media is bombarded by bars and restaurants releasing covid-19 statements about their battle with coronavirus.
Bars and restaurant are being forced to close there doors, and the one who are still operating, are doing so on lower hours for their staff, and to make things worse. This is going to get worse before it gets better. Boris Johnson has said today that we should be avoiding bars, pubs clubs and any other such establishments. So what does this mean for our beloved industry?
Just take a trip down your towns “Busy spot” on a Saturday night and take a look at the empty streets. Bars without a soul in sight, the same bars that you would have had to queue for a solid hour to get in last week, bars which would turn away customers for not having the right attire, look or attitude now begging for customers.
I get it, i don’t want to be rubbing up against strangers in a bar myself right now, these are difficult and anxious times for anyone. Nightclubs are getting hit hard by this for that exact reason. Hygiene is on the forefront of everyone’s mind at the moment and its difficult for nightclubs to keep up with peoples standards. You cant exactly expect staff to be sanitising the dance floor mid song. Don’t even get me started on keeping social distance…
generally speaking, bars with a steady flow of customers aren’t getting hit TOO hard, at the moment.. With alot of people working “from home” they just seem to be surviving cabin fever by working from bars and cafes. But how long will that last? especially with other countries closing there bars fully. its only a matter of time before we take the same route. The hope is these places stay operating long enough for them to put some kind of strategy in place to stay operating. After all, soon enough people wont be so inclined to work from these places and will be self isolating themselves at home. if not out of sickness, out of fear.
Since coronavirus first hit, Chinese restaurants have been struggling massively. And this was before we even had a case in the UK. People have been irrationally boycotting Chinese restaurants. As if, you eat Chinese food you’re going to get a disease that people in China are getting. That right their, is madness. China town has been a ghost town long before this was even an issue here in the UK. Now it is, we are now seeing the affect of it across all our restaurants.
For the longest time i myself have been trying to get a reservation at Manchester only Michelin star restaurant. A restaurant that’s fully booked out and has what seems to be, a never ending waiting list to get in. Like, seriously, i live 5 minutes from this place and i’ve never been able to get past the front door. Now all of a sudden they have tables available.
Other restaurants i follow have been posting content on there social media emphasising there hygiene standards. Releasing coronavirus statements, and generally showing their struggle in the crisis.
Hotels are by far getting hit the worse by this. In the last week, a Hotel i work for has seen a mass amount of room cancellations in the last 2 days. We have gone from having rooms near on sold out daily to days next week where we have 10% occupancy, and asking around, other hotels are in the exact same boat. 200 bedroom hotels with less then a quarter of them rooms filled. Its a ghost town around these larger hotels.Not to mention the larger operating hotels have larger, costly, bars and restaurants that people also aren’t going too. that leads to hundreds of staff from receptionist to cleaners, chefs to bartender all out of work without the ability to work from home.
With countries being on lock down there’s limited foreign travel, UK people too scared to leave their homes meaning reduced tourism, with businesses working from home, there’s no corporate bookings, and with not events in the city, there’s no reason to stay in the city. And this is only going to get worse, coronavirus hasn’t even fully hit us yet and already hotels are losing massive business. Once it hits the likely to happen peak, its only going to get worse for the hotel industry. many of the smaller operating hotels will be left closed for good and many of the larger operating hotels will be left without staff.
Staff within the hospitality industry are getting hit badly by the effects of coronavirus. There are jobs being lost left right and center. According to Bighospitality. One in 10 people work in hospitality and tourism. The UK hospitality and tourism industry employs 4.49m people – approximately 10 per cent of the working population. Thats alot of people getting hit hard by this.
There is already an issue with underpaid staff in the food and drink industry. The majority don’t earn enough money to put aside a safety net for times like this. They cant afford to lose there jobs, and they cant work from home either. Alot of bars, restaurants and hotels have made the decision to close until this threat blows over, which means the staff are stuck with no money. Its not like these places have closed for good, meaning no redundancy packages for staff. It’s also not like the staff can find jobs elsewhere, because everyone is in the same situation.
And what about the places that are fighting back and aren’t closing? Lack of customers means less hours. With no one to serve staff are losing there hours. Alot of full-time staff are forced into working part time and there is nothing they can do about it.
Hospitality. Bars, restaurants, hotels. It isnt just about food and drinks, its where you go to celebrate, where you go to drown your sorrows. These places are like second homes to many of us. There where we met our partners, made friends for life. There what make our towns, our city’s and our country. Its where we make memories (and forget them) we need to support these places and support the staff that make them places, the places we love.
How can we help our hospitality scene?
Support your locals.
Don’t let fear get between you and your midweek Sauvignon Blanc.
As it stands, if you can go to these places, do. They are taking hygiene very seriously at the moment. But even if you’re to anxious or are struggling financial yourself. See what other options are available, vouchers for future use? Even a simple coffee to go will help them. Check in on there website, follow their social media. That way any updates they share you can show your support.
We are in the age of delivery. Nowadays damn near everywhere has delivery options via Ubereats or Dilveroo, if not direct. Keep this in mind. If you’re to scared to go to your favourite restaurant, thats okay. Irrational or not, anxiety is anxiety. I feel the same. But that shouldn’t stop you ordering food from these places to get delivered. You don’t even have to come into contact with delivery drivers anymore, leave them a note asking to leave it outside your door and they will. Great for coronavirus and my social awkwardness.
Alot of restaurants, bars and hotels offer vouchers, coupons and gift cards. Why not treat yourself? Buying vouchers for these places to use at a later date. That way, whilst these places are not seeing any customers through the doors, they will have enough cash flow to keep themselves afloat.
Tip your servers!
I cant stress this one enough. When your out at a bar or restaurant, keep in mind that happy go lucky person who is serving you, making your food, concocting your cocktails, is firstly, most likely living of minimum wage, secondly probably has had a massive cut in hours and is struggling to stay afloat themselves, and finally, if your anxious about catching coronavirus, and how close you get to strangers, imagine being in the shoes of the people who still have to interact closely with hundreds of people from all walks of life, and the anxiety they must be feeling about coronavirus. So please, if you take anything from this. Tip. Your. Servers. We need to look after the people who look after us.