The noise around hospitality re-opening early is not helpful – a clear, timely and concise plan is needed now
Over the weekend there were a number of articles which spurned a small amount of optimism, that the hospitality sector would see some sites opening early, with a bias towards outside dining / drinking before the 4th July, earmarked as the earliest point by the Government’s plan.
It seems however, this timeline is now not what the Government ‘leaks’ suggest and as stated by Alok Sharma, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is that the earliest opportunity for UK Hospitality, certainly for England that is, from the 4th July (subject to all the usual caveats on the R number etc.) Likewise this was further underpinned by Boris’ own press conference response.
What is clear that operators are hugely constrained by what is going on, sharing at least the guidelines that operators need to work to will provide some idea of the work and investment involved to be able to re-open against a bloodbath of costs, PPE/Safety screens etc is now a new cost to doing business is a necessity.
This also has a broader impact to the supply chain side.
There are a significant number of supplier partners also impacted by whether venues open as part of the broader supply chain. The impact through this has a two-way effect; both on the suppliers’ own viability (as a collateral impact of closures/viable operators) and then continuity of service/pricing/value for the remaining operators. These pressures are more likely to be felt as operator sites come online and against a backdrop of the already strained margins.
The risk of reduced supplier competition and diversity is another headwind for operators to tackle. That said, this may encourage closer working partnerships or new entrants to stimulate innovation in the supply chain to benefit all parties.
There is now nothing more important than a clear, timely and concise plan.