EP Business in Hospitality hosted a remote industry forum this week, attended by hospitality leaders, to debate the growing psychology of fear around hospitality and food and the impact that delivered-in food models could have on the sector moving forward.
The session was opened by Tom Squires, founder of City Pantry, a food delivery service for businesses, who made a compelling case for how the delivered-in model could impact the marketplace following the outbreak of Covid-19.
There was also a strong argument regarding the emergence of delivered-in models as a replacement for on-site canteens. Many believe there is a new era emerging that will significantly challenge the traditional foodservice model.
Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP Business in Hospitality, leading communicator on business thinking and opinion in the hospitality industry, said: “There was a common undercurrent to the discussion which noted how nervous many people were of an exit from lockdown.
“The UK does seem to have developed a more fearful outlook than most other countries. It was noted that in Denmark, there has been a jump back with many offices seeing 80% of employees back in and canteens with restaurants open.
“How can we change that fear factor? It was also noted that the conversations in the UK are noticeably different to those taking place in other countries.”
Some statistics revealed by City Pantry during the discussion included:
- 90% of their traditional customer base have closed their offices.
- They have seen a 379% increase in orders for deliveries to employees in their homes.
- This trend is likely to continue, as most offices will see only 50% of employees returning to offices until a proven vaccine is found.
- Around 22,700 meals have already been donated by companies to charities and social initiatives at home.
- Delivered-in models could replace canteens in the workplace.
- There will be a demand for more flexible models with smaller company HQs.
- This is an anticipated new era for CPU operations.
- Partnerships within hospitality will grow and for City Pantry, conversations with traditional caterers are growing at speed.
- Technology will play a major role in the final solution.
The forum also revealed a common consensus that collaboration between traditional competitors will increase and that the industry must work together in unity to solve some of the major issues faced.