Finding opportunity amidst uncertainty: Part IV

The Return

Many restaurants and hospitality business are beginning to work on new Covid-aware operations; getting themselves ready for “the return”. While these are still very early days and the future is unclear, our friends at RA Group have compiled some initial thoughts on the factors your business needs to be considering:

Social distancing

People will naturally seek to socially distance where they can, even if the strict 2m rules are relaxed:

- Queues will need to be managed. We are currently seeing in over-worked healthcare canteens that socially distanced queues are very long – businesses need to find ways to manage this without alienating consumers

- Free-movement layouts will give way to more linear restaurant flows – people won’t want to bump into others or crowd at a counter

- When it comes to guest service, creating new greeting behaviours that respect physical space while still creating warmth will be important. Digital greeting will also play a greater part

Read more on social distancing considerations by clicking here

Food preparation and service

Customers will want food that is both safe and healthy:

- Kitchen operations will need to support greater social distancing – including moving some tasks offsite

- Shared tongs will be out; served food and plated or boxed portions will be in- Disposables will gain in popularity, but we need to find solutions that don’t incur an environmental compromise- ‘Open’ food – from salad tables to hospitality buffets – will need to change to give consumers the confidence that their food is protected

-Hygiene routines will become more pronounced and visible, including handwashing stations and handwashing frequency, gloves and potentially masks

- Menus that are still appetising when boxed, held and delivered will be important


We need to be prepared for temporary ‘circuit breaker’ pauses in operations and significant variation in volumes:

- Hospitality operations will need to be easier to dial up, dial down and shift location

- Intermediate roles such as supervisors will increase in flexibility and cross-training will increase so that smaller teams or different needs are easier to accommodate at short notice


What will the world look like on the other side of coronavirus? What will consumers want? Here are five trends that are likely to reshape both our industry and many others:

- Resilience is now a thing. We are used to delivering against the twin goals of best- experience and lowest-cost. Resilience is now added to the mix. We have all learned very quickly that it is imperative to be able to withstand shocks, unexpected shut-downs and restrictions, and at rapid speed.

- Wellness will become even more important. Coronavirus has brought conversations around immunity and wellbeing to the fore. Extended periods working from home – and therefore feeling even more sedentary than usual – have fuelled a cottage-industry advising on nutrition, posture, sleep, work rhythms and energy balance.

- More fluid; less fixed. Fixed costs and fixed ways of working are now disproportionately costly. In a world where the threat of lockdowns may stay with us for months or years, we all need the ability to ramp up and ramp down rapidly.

- We are all home workers. By the time this is even close to over, we will all have worked out how to work effectively at home. We will have been forced to fix the niggling problems that have previously stopped us working from home – how to use Video conferences competently, connecting the printer, finding a work rhythm that is healthy. We will have proved that it’s possible. And many employers will find that their business can (at least mostly) function without the office. Home/office work patterns are likely to change for good.

- Care is the new social currency. Over recent weeks we have enjoyed being nicer to each other. We have clapped the NHS and volunteering is at an all-time high. The impact of this has shown itself remarkably rapidly: in just the last week, the number of people feeling better about the state of British society due to coronavirus has tripled (and the number of people feeling worse has almost halved).

Here at Foodbuy, we are already beginning to support our client reimagining their business operations and supply chains. If you’re looking for some support during these unusual times, contact us here..