Covid-19 has been a challenge of enormous proportions not only worldwide but also federally, provincially and municipally. Economies have been impacted and no one knows that re than business owners. The inability to bring customers into your food premises 100% has greatly reduced revenues for many in the food business. In some states and provinces (depending on your geographic location), it has been business as usual and extended lockdowns have not occurred. However for those in lockdown areas or “hotspots”, the reality of lockdowns have been a way of life for more the better part of a year.
Some businesses have been able to pivot quickly and adapt to a take out model. These businesses usually were already take-outs and have a smaller seating capacity and square footage overhead. The reduced capacity has not greatly affected their sit down business however the spectre of Covid-19 has affected their walk in business. For the restaurants that have a larger seating capacity, empty seats equal lost revenue and this has resulted in the closure of many established locations.
The vaccine rollouts have enabled businesses in some areas to start reopening if not fully, marginally, depending on their Public Health and government mandates. It is left to be seen if the vaccine rollout will be quick enough to save some businesses that hanging on by a thread right now. The question linger, “Will customers return in the numbers they were dining out in before?”, “Will another wave with new variants force more lockdowns?” , “Can our businesses sustain long enough for the vaccines and herd immunity to take hold?”, “Will government bodies offer more support to the hospitality industry?”. These questions and many more loom on the horizon.
These are troubling times for an industry that not only includes restaurants but food manufacturers, hotels, restaurant suppliers and many other important and diverse facets. The next year will be difficult one for many and the effects of Covid-19 vaccination rollouts and warmer weather will be monitored closely to see how well the industry fares. Markers are pointing towards gradual re-openings which is a positive sign for the hospitality industry.