Hospitality industry is the heart of many Australian cities. The hospitality industry is a vital clog in our economic machine, serving millions of patrons and hundreds of different cuisines a year.
This is why it was so devastating for many when the industry was forced to shut down in-house dining due to government restrictions implemented by the coronavirus pandemic. By the first week of April 2020, almost every Australian state had shut their borders and put some restrictions in place that involved venues and restaurants having to close their doors to patrons.
Comparatively to the rest of the world, every state, but Victoria, had relatively short lockdowns. However, the industry felt the impact widely. As the borders were closed between most states, interstate travel was only for essential reasons, meaning a lack of international and national guests. This created a general reduction in spending, putting great pressure on businesses.
Hospitality businesses had to adapt to the new normal, meaning the industry has changed hugely over the last year. So, nearly one year on, what has changed?
Hospitality increased their online endeavours to cater to their only way of getting business during a lockdown: takeaway options. Businesses also had to reduce costs, re-skill staff, make the most of the domestic market and diversify their services.
Firstly, consumer behaviour changed, and new business strategies had to be adapted. Businesses hoping to stay afloat implemented the necessary measures to re-open or run while not accepting in-house dining.
Many introduced no-contact pick-up options and drive-thru services, amongst other clever incentives, to continue running their business. The use of apps and technology-assisted in this, as everyone could order from their phones, making the process seamless and more appealing to all.
The huge shift in spending habits was another changing factor for the industry. With many losing work and all-around economic uncertainty, everyone is reconsidering their discretionary spending, so venues must up their marketing to differentiate themselves from other businesses. Venues compete to have patrons spend their spare cash at their business rather than elsewhere because fewer people are spending all around.
On top of having to innovate, adapt and work towards new business models, staffing became an issue. Many businesses had to let staff go, while some had to up-skill or adjust their staff roles. This way, businesses could keep loyal staff while becoming agile enough in their organisational structures to keep pushing forward. As we move forward through 2021, some of this unpredictability will remain.
Overall, Australia’s hospitality industry underwent a huge amount of change and upheaval in 2020. However, many adapted well to survive and thrive again.
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