A few days ago I sent out a quick, 5 minute to fill out set of questions to some hospitality professionals of differing styles of business. I have compiled the answers into a reader-friendly format.
Of course, the lockdown was sudden and extreme in all of their cases, Leor Haimes, Time and Place Café, Bentleigh East, has had to let over 15 well-qualified staff members go. He remorsefully states that he “went from 90 seats to zero overnight”. Catering proprietor of Antonietta’s Kitchen Caulfield South, Toni Gledhill has been using this time to “reflect, slow down and regroup with family” as her life is usually go go go. Toni has been in the “Trade” for the past 35 years, just behind me at 38. We definitely speak the same language.
Her business was effected immediately. Her most significant clients, both corporate and school-based cancelled all jobs. Even the ABC, one of her regular gigs, ceased all of its jobs and subsequently, she was a casualty as well.
Andrew Dunoon, Elizabeth Andrews Corporate Catering West Melbourne, has probably had his business hit the worst financially by this epidemic. Going from a 60 strong staff churning up to 150 functions a day down to home-delivered meals and pastries to a few of his loyal corporate client’s private homes. He has just completed a 1.5 year total fit out of a new kitchen and has lost approximately 98% of his prior Covid-19 turnover….ouch !
Usually, small orders of meals are frowned upon by large and small hospitality concerns alike as not worth the time spent by staff and more importantly not cost-effective to produce and in these cases, deliver.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
This phrase likely originates with a saying of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, which appears in his Aphorisms: “For extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure, as to restriction, are most suitable”. How apt for today’s health and business climate.
All of the participants in this survey have all thought about the NOW and pivoted into either take home or delivered meals. These businesses have all had a can-do attitude. This is so important for this industry, our industry.
The biggest fear is survival through these times and what will the “new normal” be and hold for these and all other businesses around the traps. Do they need to keep the new business model and structure going for the short or long term? “Hospitality will never be the same” states Leor whilst Andrew feels that “it will take 2 years to get back to 90% of what it was”. I tend to agree. My theory is that the weaker businesses during the nature of these testing periods, the G.F.C. and similar either receive a rude awakening and fight back like the three businesses in this article or close their doors for good. Which one are you?
The three participants:
367 North Road, Caulfield South
Time and Place Café
929 Centre Road, Bentleigh East
Elizabeth Andrews Corporate Catering
96 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne