COVID 19 - Lessons to Learn from Food and Hospitality Sector

Short Description
The F&B domain has an important role to play in accelerating the process of recovery in this first-of-its-kind economic collateral damage.
  • Jaasjyot Surri CEO and Co-Founder, SJI Hospitality and Foods Private Limited

If there is one lesson that the Indian food and hospitality community at large has learned from the global pandemic that endures wrecking possibly all sectors of the industry, it is the absolute need to be agile and responsive from top to bottom.


The importance of human lives and their well-being remains a top priority and the primary concern at the centre of this pandemic and economic crisis. Coronavirus has already taken its toll on the hospitality and F&B sectors along with many other industries.


As the world has been struggling to contain the virus, the hospitality industry has been leading the fight against the global pandemic feeding those in need during these trying times. It has rightly been focussing on the safety of its employees who are at the vanguard, as well as the security of exposed and anxious customers, although only through the food delivery platform.


The F&B domain has an important role to play in accelerating the process of recovery in this first-of-its-kind economic collateral damage. A return to excellence with a tactical spirit is currently the pre-requisite in reinstating the buoyancy of the industry that has been anticipating a re-appearance to normal and to reinforce the liability of players who have been impacted. The hospitality industry has these entrepreneur skills in profusion and is all set to take up this new challenge through innovations and these lessons learned from the F&B sector can surely benefit the other sectors.


Although economic bearing and a major financial crisis for the F&B industry is unavoidable, it is remarkable to see that wherever there are hopes of restarting the outlets, organisations are gearing themselves up for operations post-lockdown. These are trying times for the entire hospitality industry which is looking at assistance from all quarters including the government and its patrons.


Throughout this unanticipated situation, the ambit of F&B has kept the aspects of the health and safety of employees and customers on a top priority.  Many organizations have taken measures to tighten the standards of hygiene and surveillance controls to minimize the jeopardy of contagion. In the forthcoming years, this anxiety may leave an ineradicable mark on people's lives and is sure to mark a societal shift towards an amplified modesty, social distancing and sanitation precautions becoming a way of life. In response to this, the entire hospitality realm has learned new and enhanced ways of functioning, perhaps allowing for a refined work-life balance. This shock wave is bound to wobble possibly all service professions and the restaurant sector is acclimatizing to every communication, experience, product, to the new anticipations of a generation distressed by an imperceptible enemy. Despite the acute pressures on hospitality professionals, the industry is ensuring that quality and excellence, along with exceptional service and meaningful communication shall continue in a sustained manner. The industry has been leaving no stones unturned to reinstate normality and to establish the “New Normal”.


In fluctuating conditions like these, entrepreneurship is an exceptional asset. The present times have also witnessed the emergence of new menus that are focussing on healthy immunity boosting edibles designed for home delivery by restaurants. This change has been incorporated keeping in mind the altered consumer behavioural patterns currently and even post the lockdown. Technological modifications that were already underway before the crisis are now becoming increasingly vital. Forward-looking companies are looking at new and enhanced ways of doing things – they are investing time and resources in planning not just the short term but are also setting up for the long term, they are devoting time in training their employees to best prepare them for new and unexpected challenges such as this. Contactless dining, QR code digital menus, disposable paper menus and enhanced hygiene and sanitation are set to become the tenets of the F&B industry. Functioning together is both a prodigious responsibility and a great prospect. The hospitality sector understands the fact that the rebuilding reliance cannot be loomed by organizations in isolation, it is a city-wide or even country-wide concern. Hotelsand restaurants are closely working with local and national authorities and associations, thus being all set to play an important role in the recovery process and winning back the consumer trust.


In conclusion, restored planning is undoubtedly the most understandable task to recommend following an emergency of this magnitude. There is no such thing as a ‘normal’ day in the zone of hospitality. Anyone employed in this field should be prepared to effectively deal with the unforeseen. Nonetheless, lessons can be learned from the F&B sector providers in India who have risen to the occasion, put in place contingency plans and provisions for unforeseeable scenarios, coupled with evidently predefined roles and accountabilities for staff, so that key decisions can be made rapidly and effectually in the event of any foreseeable crisis even in the forthcoming years. The vision for the near future may be blurred, but the growth and future of the nation depends on everyone including the hospitality industry having a positive outlook over a long-term horizon with positivity being the key even in trying times such as these.

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