The Challenge of Life Post Lockdown

Covid-19 feels like it has been a disastrous part of our lives for months now when in reality it is just over 3 weeks since the lockdown, causing most of the Hospitality industry to come to a total standstill overnight. With job losses, financial and medical insecurity and some very difficult decisions to be made, it has been the most trying of times.

Despite this much good has also come out of this disaster. As an industry we have stepped forward to continue to provide essential services, meals and care to those on the front line in the NHS as well as to create solutions to continue to care for the most vulnerable in our society. Something we have a right to be exceptionally proud of. This great work continues, and we hope will create a new normal and set of standards for the world which evolves when we do eventually come out on the other side.

Perhaps it feels like it may be a bit soon, but the question is already being asked and on many people’s mind – so, what is next?  How do we as an industry, as businesses and as leaders responsible for venues, staff and associated services come back and where do we start?

Restaurant Associates have too been working through the enormous questions surrounding what the future could and needs to look like based on our lessons and experiences of the past few weeks. They have created a very informative and insightful memorandum in line with the McKinsey study (in partnership with Oxford Economics study March 2020) which explores many avenues of thought that we are all going to have to embrace and create solutions for.

According to them we have to start with what we know, accept that the world has changed and that we have no choice but to change with it. So, what do we know? As an industry we know that people will always eat and drink. As social creatures we know that they will also need to interact and with a heightened sense of the importance of community being now part of our new normal thanks to Covid-19, this too will be important in the new world. We also know that trust, risk and security are of utmost importance, that ways of working will never be the same again and that the world is definitely not going to recover from or normalise in a matter of a few months. We are in it for the long haul but there are substantial positives to take from this and work to be done.

According to the RA memorandum, there are some very structured and essential ways for us as an industry to fight Covid-19 – both as an economic disaster as well as a disease. The McKinsey study states that when everything is in chaos, a clear framework is helpful and so suggests a five-horizon framework for thinking through and acting on the implications of the disease.

  • Resolve
  • Resilience
  • Return
  • Reimagination
  • Reform

Our challenge is working our way from Resolve to Reform. This journey we know will not materialise neat and orderly fashion let alone play out in a straight line, we are navigating new waters. We also know that as an industry we are going to have to work together along this journey, to share knowledge and support to enable us to collectively create the best new world possible.

With substantial changes in working/home working patterns, the need for flexible catering solutions and design alterations, social distancing being a new normal, trust, technology, care and wellness being in focus, RA correctly suggest that this new world also creates many positive opportunities.

How do we work together as an industry to embrace, help create and support this new world which is starting to emerge? How do we lead the way from Resolve to Reform?