The hospitality industry has arguably been one of the hardest hit by lockdowns, social distancing requirements and restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Remember March 23, 2020? That’s when hospitality businesses were all but shut down overnight in many places around the country. It feels like a lifetime ago, and also like just yesterday, to so many of our customers, who are tired of constantly dealing with snap lockdowns and changes in government requirements.
The truth is, we need cafes, restaurants, hotels and venues to be able to open again. Not just because they provide us with food when we are hungry, not just because they add a much-needed boost to the economy, but because they nourish our minds and moods and lift us up.
Hospitality plays such a vital role in our lives, that when it was taken away we truly realised how much it meant to us. It wasn’t just the food we missed, it was the people.
Food is one of life’s real pleasures. But sharing it with others and the human interaction inherent in hospitality is what makes the industry stand apart as an essential part of our lives.
With no international tourists on the horizon, corporate travel significantly reduced and events few and far between, it is understandable that confidence is low in the industry.
In 2020, the annual turnover of cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services in Australia amounted to approximately 39.75 billion Australian dollars, compared to 46.8 billion dollars the year before. Between 2004 and 2019 the cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services turnover had been steadily growing year on year until 2020, which was the first year during this time period to show negative growth.
Our venues are not only places to eat incredible food but also places to find happiness in human interaction. In today’s world of zoom meetings and remote pub quizzes, this is something we must protect.
Our industry has a flow-on effect to more than you’d first realise. It affects everyone from the delivery driver to the farmer, the wholesaler to the waiter, and all deserve to see the industry return to its former glory.
As we open up, we hope that our cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services will be valued and represented economically and politically so we can all continue to enjoy eating out with our loved ones.