It’s been a challenging few years for the hospitality industry and even though 2022 has brought with it a lessening of restrictions for venues, there are certainly no less challenges on the horizon.
As the year unfolds, we predict there will be six key challenges that will influence venues as they work towards recovery:
Enticing workers with pay, perks and conditions
Finding qualified people is a struggle for all foodservice venues at the moment. We’re seeing wages soar for everyone from the dishy to the head chef. After the pandemic, many venues are realising that a huge proportion of hospitality workers may not consider returning to the industry. Venues will need to offer better pay, sign-on bonuses, better hours and shifts and, of course, better perks.
Then of course, venues need to ensure they protect those employees they do still have, especially as COVID variants arise.
Preparing for weather events and climate change
Weather related events are causing turmoil in the hospitality industry and venues should be ready for more disruptions from climate-change weather events. Extreme weather unsettles hospitality business on many levels: raising costs, interrupting operations and reducing leisure and travel.
With the QLD floods the most recent example, not only could a weather event directly impact your venue, but even if you’re miles away your suppliers and customers could be negatively effected and you could find yourself without stock or without diners.
Disruptions to supply chain
2021 saw a computer chip shortage that had a knock-on effect across several industries, there has been similar worries about restaurant food supplies. The Queensland floods are an obvious example where trucks simply could not get through to deliver supplies, but there are several other factors affecting Australian supply chain including worker shortages in the supply chain due to COVID isolation or shortage of products themselves (like coffee which is facing a shortage this year).
Technology transforming the workplace
Tech innovations continue to transform hospitality. In the past couple of years QR codes and point of sales systems have become far more prevalent and customers are used to ordering from their phone for speed and efficiency. This will not come without its challenges as venues will need to be aware and prepared for cyber breaches and things like ransomware and malware.
On top of the usual staff training, venues will now need to train employees to avoid breaches through technology or risk losing their hard earned profits.
Waiting for international demand to return
Australia has opened its borders to international travellers but tourist intake is slow moving and many venues who would usually be packed with international tourist over the summer have experienced another quiet peak period. As travellers (and international workers) start to drip through, venues will need to come up with ways to entice them to eat and drink with them (when many diners are still wary of eating indoors or being around large groups).
The Economist aptly put it: “The era of predictable unpredictability is not going away”. Last year, people were hoping for stability, if not complete normality. Now, we are facing a time of predictable unpredictability. Venues who remain flexible and resilient, creative in their thinking and above all else are willing to continue the slog of the previous two years will see rewards as the ‘new normal’ settles in.