There has been a shift in mindset from a need to control to greater openness and alliances

What can you do for me and what can I do for you?

The above was an interesting observation made by a senior operator this week, in response to the eshot we ran on Tuesday. Traditionally, they noted, the focus was always on “how do we control and how do we maximise return?” No longer is that the dominant mindset.

“Today it is so very different. We want to offer our clients variety and customers know we can’t be experts in every discipline – especially in this market – so the only way to give our customers the best service is through creating strong alliances with other businesses and together, we offer a better service.”

This shift is being seen across all markets. Many hoteliers are outsourcing their F&B to expert partners. Foodservice operators are creating new strong frameworks which then allow them to bring in different operators to work with. Working with suppliers is changing too. New models are emerging.

This has, of course, been happening for years but the deeper shift is a move from a contracted supplier relationship to genuine partnerships which see two companies working together to create better offers.

Some argue that the pandemic has been the catalyst, whilst others will argue that technological innovation has allowed for greater transparency, openness and even new models with greater revenue opportunities. One restauranteur noted that pre- all the recent lockdowns, they had seen an increase in revenue by customers being able to order via an app which also saw faster service, faster payment and less staff cost. The result is that traditional models are adapting which in turn changes traditional thinking.

Another operator recently noted that “quite a few people knew that some models just were no longer working effectively and the pressure on the model was just getting more intense. The pandemic has made us embrace technology which has made us feel more in control and with that more relaxed in how we build new partnerships as everything is transparent. We are far more open-minded today than we were a year ago all because technology has freed our minds. We can trust more and be more innovative. I look back at some of our thinking just 10 months ago and shake my head at ourselves. We have lost 80% of our business but improved twice over. Who would have thought?”

The cynic will, naturally, counter that it will be all change once the economy returns to normal. “I do not believe that will be the case”, was the answer. “We have understood that we were not good enough in many areas. We are not masters at every discipline we do. We can’t hide from that. We have found ourselves happier at the changes. The technology was seen to be a catalyst for greater control but through adversity, it is freeing us up and we have both control and able to be innovative, which is what clients have wanted.”