Hospitality needs your help!

From the start of the pandemic, hospitality has borne the brunt of the restrictions. It is an industry reliant on being able to bring people together – whether for food, for drinks or just for fun.

Preparing to open back up at the start of July, hospitality businesses spent huge sums to become COVID compliant and to ensure they could deliver a safe return. There were still huge concerns. Could they turn a profit on 30-50% occupancy? Could they survive without commuter footfall? Could they ensure a fantastic experience whilst meeting regulatory standards?

By and large, they came back fighting and absolutely determined to save their businesses and the industry as a whole. Inevitably, even with the support of furlough and government schemes, there were redundancies and closures.

The sector has regularly called for extensions to support to avoid further job losses but have been told they are not “viable”. The Winter Economy Package is not enough for these venues to weather the storm.

And then. The ten o’clock curfew.

Brought in without any scientific backing or financially modelling, the curfew will be the death knoll for many businesses. It cuts trading hours, reduces customer confidence and, ironically, drives people out of safe, regulated environments and into huge crowds.

We had hoped when filming this roundtable (on Monday 28th September) that it would almost immediately be out of date. Sadly, it isn’t and, whilst a difficult watch, we highly encourage you to listen to the impact it’s having.

Thank you so much to Lucy Noone-Blake for chairing and to Abi Dunn – Sixty Eight People, Felicity Tulloch – Kuits Solicitors and Andrew Strugnell – Arc Inspirations for sharing their expertise.

There are a number of things you can do to help in this crisis:

  • Support calls to #CancelTheCurfew. There is national campaign here: with a government petition currently awaiting approval.
  • Access and/or promote CareerScope. This new service is aimed at supporting those who have lost their job due to COVID-19 get back into work, as well as those looking to start their career in hospitality, leisure and tourism. It is a partnership between five organisations: Springboard, Hospitality Action, UK Hospitality, the Institute of Hospitality and the Savoy Educational Trust.
  • Use them or lose them. Despite what you might assume given the additional restrictions, hospitality venues are very safe and responsible for a tiny fraction of new cases (approximately 3%). Many venues are opening earlier for brunch or lunch, so take advantage if you can’t make it out in the evenings.
  • Don’t underestimate the transferable skills of hospitality professionals. If you’re recruiting, please consider bringing them in to your sector. (Side note from Ilona: our wonderful Katie is ex-hospitality. Her ability to multi-task coupled with her obsessive customer service is a result of her years in the industry and part of the reason why she’s so brilliant at business development.)
  • Don’t be a d*ck. We shouldn’t have to say this but please be extra considerate of the staff when you are out and about; they’re adjusting to weekly changes with minimal notice. Don’t ask them to break the rules for you. And if you can’t make your booking, cancel.