The workplace catering community are doing an amazing job preparing for the return to work, while many of course have been hard at it throughout.
Almost every catering company has produced a really clear set of guidelines to convince clients that opening catering facilities will be safe. There are some terrific videos we’ve seen underlining their capabilities further.
This has helped UKHospitality lobby government to allow catering everywhere to open up.
However, there’s an elephant in the room: Cost.
Lots of organisations right now are saying cost is secondary to the safety of their staff and to encouraging core workers back so they can start generating income again. That makes complete sense, but only in the short term.
The reality is that very rapidly companies will not only see that their catering costs may have rocketed, profits will decline at the same time due to the lower sales associated with having a smaller customer base.
Where they may previously have had cost certainty, their caterer will no longer take financial risk, with such a volatile customer base over which they have no control. They may also find themselves having to pick up redundancy costs as their caterer right-sizes their staffing establishment.
All this will be against a background of many companies needing to scrutinise their cost base as they attempt to make up for lost profitability during the crisis.
There are no easy answers to this. However, key will be caterers developing clear plans and options for clients to offer a valued service at an affordable cost.
We’ve already seen some caterers modelling options that can then be tailored to clients’ specific needs as things develop. By doing this in the short term, they are setting the foundations for a hopefully rapid regrowth of the service and re-employment of staff.
That, together with the leap in the use of technology and innovative service solutions that has come as a result of the Covid- 19 crisis will lead to a healthy future.
Managing Director, Stern Consultancy
Reopening: Measure twice cut once
Workplace Catering Cost Saving – Chris Stern – 18 June 2020