Remember dining out? A crowded bar, a buzzing café, a bustling restaurant? For many of us, these were favourite places. Then they were closed and can now only open under very limited conditions. I miss them but for their owners the situation is vastly harder.
Businesses in Australia have had to become more resilient than ever in 2020, first facing pressures from bushfires and floods and now the ongoing economic and social impacts of COVID-19.
The hospitality sector has been hit particularly hard. Even the return of dine-in options for many restaurants across the country doesn’t mean a return to normal. Limited tables, social distancing – in a business where profit margins can be measured by tables filled.
But should the hospitality industry be looking for a return to normal? Or is this an opportunity to change the game?
Recently, I spoke with Shane Delia, one of the most prominent chefs and restaurateurs in Melbourne, on podcast.
Talking with Shane I learned a lot about the way he views change and opportunity. He, for one, doesn’t want to see a return to the way things were in the hospitality industry.
“I don't know why hospitality would be rushing to get things back to normal,” Shane says. “If we remember rents increasing, cost of business getting high, more legislative restrictions placed on businesses, profit margins reducing, a highly competitive market… I don't really want to rush back to that.
“So if this pandemic has given us the chance to adapt… take a breath and pause and have a look at our businesses a little bit differently, I'm embracing that,” Shane says.