“The one thing the Industry needs at this time is hope…and a more positive narrative. People, who you would never think would lose their jobs, are right now and the after-effect could last for a very long time.”

The above was a quote in a recent forum and one which we have heard many, many times over the last week or so. The last two weeks, since the Chancellor’s announcement, has seen a sombre mood descend and understandably so.

Everyone understands the reasoning and the issues but the UK does seem to finding it harder to find the right road forward than other countries. Quite a number have remarked that the UK is more downbeat than other countries. One could see this very vividly with the video discussion we hosted with the Three Deans from the Swiss Education Group earlier this week.

We had one comment which noted that: “My fears are for the young talent. I have enjoyed the pieces on hotels schools, especially the Three Deans interview as it was a positive outlook and they clearly like the students in their care. The industry is a creative one, a passionate one and this is what creates something special. The Three Deans made you feel they would nurture that and we need that in the UK too. Is it just me but the UK seems the most negative environment at the moment?”

Hope is crucial in the hardest of times. Without hope, it does sap energy and undermines the good. Many are arguing that leaders and Industry do need to somehow create a more positive narrative to help those who are losing their jobs but this is a remarkably difficult time too for leaders who have seen their business decimated through no fault of their own. So many are not being given the chance to trade with hope through Government restrictions. Leaders too need to see signs of light and hope, that they have the opportunity to rebuild their businesses.

Over the last week, we have had many comments coming through which illustrate the concerns which many do feel at this time. You may not agree with some of the following comments but they are reflective of the comments being heard:

“We have let the analysts control too much. Operators need to be given a fighting chance as odds are they will find solutions.”

“Many are lacking purpose and hope, the subject’s which you have covered well in the past. These topics are so important now. How people stay positive and avoid slipping into dark holes.”

“It does sadden me that all the good energy of May and June seems to have been lost. All the talk about communities, about compassion, about better values seems to have evaporated. Maybe let’s get that discussion back as it did inspire people to do good work”

“As we move forward resilience will become even more necessary and new leaders will need mentoring from the older leaders, as much as the older leaders will need to listen and adapt to the upcoming leaders. Building resilience doesn’t come overnight, it is a time and “battle served” attribute, requiring knocks along the way. It’s how the new leaders learn how to roll with the tough times that will determine their longevity in the future. Let’s be honest hospitality requires stamina, integrity and learning the craft of hospitality, the best way to do this is with a combination of passed down wisdom and fresh thinking from the rising stars. To me, this is how the magic happens!”

“The contract sector has long been dominated by cost & purchasing. Let’s maybe see discussions start in a new place post-covid. Maybe about service, great food and the value it has. What is the purpose of having great food service and just what can be achieved?”

“Chefs adapt and even though so many are losing their jobs, you will see them migrate to new places and start again. I reckon top chefs will be seen moving to rural pubs and creating new destinations that people want to travel to”

“ Many hotels will reimagine both their services and how space can be used. People may be downbeat now but the industry will reinvent itself and come out strongly”

“ It feels as though the Government just gave up the Industry. How can one see people in stadia lose their jobs when they haven’t a chance to operate? Events too? The saddest of times but I do know the industry will somehow find a road through. I am just sad for those who have hurt through no fault of their own. “

This period is creating greater change than many realise. Many will argue that the UK has made the worst of the situation and that other countries have seemingly coped far better. Many note that China is coming back strongly and that other countries seem to see trade return to profitable conditions. Time will tell if this is correct or not, but there is little doubt that many will create new solutions over the next few months.

· Will we see a migration of chefs to new locations?

· We will see new businesses and products being formed?

· Will we see a migration of talent out of cities?

· How will cities rebuild?

All questions being discussed and, as negative as this moment appears, there are opportunities too.