The crisis is momentary! But you have to be intellectually honest and take an attitude full of healthy optimistic realism.

The away-from-home sector, as well as the tourism sector, will come out in the medium term, inevitably paying a price. Whether high or low will depend on the duration of the lockout and on the time required to reach the peak of the infections.

How will we find our sector and our market when we can reopen and start returning to normal?

We can hypothesize these changes in our scenario:

1) Independent commercial premises, which require a liquidity injection for reopening, may not reopen by choice or due to a lack of availability of the necessary liquidity in the credit system. This could determine, in the medium term, a decrease in the offer of traditional independent catering (family business) in favor of entrepreneurial and chain catering

2) In the medium term, the value for money menu offerings will have the ability to attract the largest number of consumers, exhausted from being forced to stay at home and with an economic situation / prospect still uncertain and therefore with a moderate propensity to spend.

3) Immediately after the reopening, the demand for consumption away from home will generally be cautious. Despite the desire to go out, the shock and fears of a recovery of the contagion will slow down a quick recovery. The demand curves will be more progressive, dominated by caution early on.

4) Distributors will have to reorganize and change, even their sector will be shaken, many may even see their commercial organization reduced; many agents may decide to change jobs, therefore:

  • They will have to improve direct contact with customers (redesign the relationship with the market) through the massive use of online communication and information tools
  • They could start thinking about a strengthening or implementation of an effective and efficient e-commerce system, to allow a daily non-mediated relationship with the customer
  • They should rethink and reorganize the role of the seller / agent in the area with a very different approach to customers than in the past (information, education, development, support, service rather than taking order as a main activity)
  • It could increase the concentration and territorial expansion of some Big or medium-sized Distributors.

An implication of the possible offer on the market of distribution companies could favor the entry of the big foreigners of out-of-home distribution (at relatively low prices).

It is interesting to look at what happened in China once the lockdown ended, the famous phase 2 that we also approach, we summarize the experience of Simone Crespi of Bucciano restaurant from Chengdu in China.

In China, there was an initial boom in exits due to the period spent at home, but now the curve has stabilized. When customers arrive at the restaurant, once the hygiene and sanitary rules and behavioral rules imposed by the authorities are respected, they are still relaxed and have fun going out to dinner. We work with a turnout reduced by half compared to before; delivery is popular.

The government has forced us to work only on advance reservations and not to create queues outside the premises. All customers, as soon as they arrive in the room, must undergo the temperature control procedure, wear the masks, wash their hands with the detergent provided by the structure and leave their contact information. Inside, crowded situations are prohibited: you can only work with 50% of the place settings and the seats must be reduced to the maximum (the large tables must be spaced 3 m apart and the seats must be alternated with vacant positions).

The buffets were no longer made, as were the Milanese-style aperitifs. Everything takes place on order. For the beverage, drinks are brought to the table. Consequently also the cafeteria service, eliminating the possibility of being able to consume croissants and hot drinks at the counter.

The situation will improve. I experienced the period of SARS in China (although now nobody mentions it anymore) and that too has generated difficulties, which have been overcome. Take advantage of these breaks to improve, renovate, better organize your structures and find new cooperation strategies and synergies. Try to understand how you can differentiate yourself, break the mold, use new methods of communication. In short, be mediateci: this is the time. To conclude and reassure you: not all evil comes to harm…

In general, experts in the away-from-home consumption sector tell us that in Italy a long line of mistrust and maintenance of social distance is foreseeable. Attention will be paid to quality and safety of the offer both in terms of product and service.

We must review our offer, especially in the first phase where buffets and counter services will not be available. We must compose a varied, appetizing, well-presented and affordable offer. The companies will equip themselves to meet us, we at CGM are already projected in this service perspective with ours Mix for example.

The challenge for those who work in this sector will be to make these drivers their own reboot in order to seize the opportunities that will however exist when consumption starts up again.

We can not think of starting again as before, many things will have changed, some imposed by the containment of the virus (no service at the counter, social distances, masks, ...), others will have been "unlocked" by the virus (delivery, taste of cooking at home, ...). We must try as much as possible to keep in touch with our customer and this could sometimes mean giving up part of our knowledge, to bring the bar / restaurant to the customer's home. So not only delivery, but why not think of giving the recipe of the most loved cocktail, or the secrets for making a frothed cappuccino or small lait art tricks, why don't we deliver kits to create dishes at home? why don't we challenge our customers in social competitions to recreate our best products / dishes / cocktails at home? Imagine how much the bond with your sign will be strengthened. Who do you think customers will go to when we can get out? who has disappeared from or who has kept alive the memory of himself and the good social life we ​​had inside the premises?

We must not be afraid to share knowledge, because nothing can ever replace the main reason that leads us to frequent the premises: being in company.

Happiness is beautiful if shared. We will all have fun experimenting, but as soon as we can we will return to be served the best products laughing with our friends

We leave you with this reflection by Girolamo Ippolito and Edoardo Butteri   

"Everything will be fine", is not a goal. It is a hope that someone else will do something.

"Everything will be fine", is to come out of it, doing everything possible to pay the lowest price. This is a goal beyond hope

Sources:

COVID-19: DISRUPTION IN THE OUT-OF-HOME Understanding and managing short and medium-term changes in the delivery food supply chain di Girolamo Ippolito e Edoardo Butteri

Catering magazine "POST-EPIDEMIA, WHAT WILL RESTAURANTS RE-OPEN? THE TESTIMONY OF AN ITALIAN RESTAURANT IN CHINA ”Emiliano Cinti