The sudden outbreak of Covid-19 (unofficially called Coronavirus) crisis swept through Chinese Lunar New Year like a hurricane, adding a layer of panic and depression to the hospitality industry which was supposed to be busy and prosperous.
While the sudden outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis raises doubts and fear in the hospitality industry, service excellence becomes extremely important under such unexpected circumstances. The epidemic is expected to cast a serious and lasting impact on the hospitality industry in the short term and in the next three to six months and is likely to recover in six months’ time. Due to the suppression of customer demand during the epidemic, the industry is expected to face a period of concentrated demand release after the epidemic, based on experiences from SARS in 2003. How to quickly and accurately capture the change in customer demand, how to design a corresponding customer experience, how to turn crisis into opportunity, and how to seize the opportunity for development? These have become the key challenges for the hospitality industry to ponder.
Due to the uncertainty of the changes in customer needs after the epidemic, the hospitality sector needs to review its existing service offerings so as to adapt to the changes in customer experience. Restaurants & hotels may start presenting personal serving spoons when delivering a shared dish, promoting contactless delivery, and designing menus in single portions rather than a sharing size. What’s more, to cope with the sudden increase in demand without sacrificing service quality, they can plan ahead for manpower scheduling, assess bottleneck in service delivery, allocate resources, and maintain cash flow through pre-sales.
Demand in daily essentials and healthy food is going to increase once the Covid-19 starts to fall out. People after the pandemic are going to be very particular about hygiene and quality even more. Dine-in may be affected more rather the delivery business model. As we know, social distancing will be the new trend that will be taken forward in the next coming years. The delivery joints will have to be very particular with the hygiene standards and quality. FSSAI has to create more strict laws and norms where food is concerned. Tourism is going to see a big downfall too. Traveling and visiting different places or countries will now take a turn over. This may also increase the prices of airlines and railways too.
Improper choice of raw foodstuff is the cause of this epidemic, which will, in turn, have a significant impact on customer diet structure and concepts. It is believed that after the epidemic, customers will pay more attention to the safety of food choices. While taking into account the taste, customers will rely more on whether the source of the ingredients is reliable, whether the quality of the ingredients is good enough, whether the handling of the ingredients is safe and whether the ingredients are rich in nutrition. The health market will boom up in the coming days. The organic food industry will see a growth in demand of the consumers. In order to support effective control of the epidemic, most customers avoided shopping for groceries in person, relying instead on delivery services, thereby accelerating the development of online sales and promotion. In addition, since it is not recommended to go out, customers’ social needs have shifted online, and as a result, many business owners and individuals have been using social media such as Facebook, Instagram, or Tik Tok to promote products or share lifestyle via live broadcast and online interaction.
In the coming times, it will also become important to train and educate the employees about personal and social hygiene. There are many workers, low paid or uneducated in the field of hospitality who are not aware of the importance that one should maintain regarding one’s cleanliness. Food is an emotion and when dealing with it, the most important part is to create a healthy and strong regulated environment. Many restaurants and delivery joints have already started to take precautions after the Covid-19 pandemic. It may have affected the industry as a whole but soon consumers are going to come back. The boom is going to take place for all.
There was a time when people use to opt for discounted prices and discounted joints and questions about organic and healthy food for being expensive. The tables have turned and now after this, the world is about opting for quality rather than thinking about the prices. It is necessary to think about our body and mind and invest in trusted products and services.
We as a brand are preparing ourselves with strategies to survive and serve our clients with the best of quality and hygiene assured food today and tomorrow. Also, we have launched immune booster products so that consumers can keep themselves healthy and strong even at home. We still are not sure about its ending but we can surely prepare ourselves for the worst. Hospitality never ends; it deals with customer service in any kind of situation. The fact is that this will end one day and things will be back to normal again.
(The author is the Founder of Caterspoint. Views expressed are his own)