2021 and the skills and solutions you need to succeed

“If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.”

~Henry Ford


Managing change

At the end of 2019, catering businesses, like any other industry, were continuing to grow and develop in a progressive, long-term way. Innovations were built based on solid principles and evolving needs of consumers. Then suddenly, in 2020, something happened. Something that made us look at the way we do things in a completely different light.

That thing that happened was COVID-19. It changed the world in ways we never expected. If we had told you 2 years ago to serve customers while wearing facemasks; whilst asking customers to stand 2 metres apart… or that food buffets and self-service canteens for your employees aren’t safe and are unhygienic, you might have thought we were crazy. Now many of these practices are the norm.

Is it here to stay?

Recent good news that we are getting closer and closer to having a vaccine has raised hopes (and the stock markets) but before we get carried away, we believe that COVID-19 will be very hard, if not impossible, to wipe out completely. And even when COVID-19 becomes a distant memory, it will have made long-term changes to the way we do things in the procurement, catering and facilities management sector.

Viruses come and go. Some stay longer than others, and while humans are highly resilient, we have come to realise over the last 12 months how deadly and how much of a threat a spreading virus can be.

A post-COVID era might allow us to serve food to customers in larger numbers, and in a better way (including shorter queues outside restaurants and a wider range of food options) but many of the changes that have been forced upon us will form the basis for the way restaurants and catering departments operate going forward.

An example of this is the rise in takeaway options, helped also by the growth in delivery services. In the past 6 months, we have seen a number of small restaurants innovate the way they serve customers, including traditional pubs delivering plated Sunday roasts to the front doors of homes. Once the virus is under control, will the takeaway business return to pre-COVID times? We don’t think so. If anything, COVID-19 has accelerated its adoption.

Mobilisation of new services - Can I ignore the changes?

“The way we see the problem is the problem.”

~ Stephen R. Covey


Making the assumption that everything will return back to how it was, is a dangerous assumption to make. For a business to survive, it needs to embrace the changes and adapt to them so that the food is safer, the staff are safer and the service is not just customer-focused, but also provided in an efficient way that’s profitable.

A mental shift is required by employees and employers to accept that this may be the way to go from now on.

Here are just some of the changes we have noticed that are worth noting:

  • Takeaways have become ingrained in people’s habits and the quality and value is getting better
  • Agile working practices in offices will become the norm, with more people continuing to work from home. However, this will in turn require more agile reception services and a rethink of how clients are welcomed into buildings
  • Local artisan food has seen high demand, which appears to be holding up
  • Ordering via an app or website, even when visiting a venue, is improving and could become a long-term option that benefits customers and hospitality businesses

How will you adapt?

We understand that many businesses have had to throw long-term plans out the window with the arrival of COVID-19 or re-think their current strategies and that it has become harder to plan more than 3 or 6 months ahead, but now is the time to review plans for 2021.

The new year isn’t far away and building resilience into a business with new skills and solutions could increase the chances, not just of survival, but of business growth.

If you would like help to develop a plan for 2021, call our change management consultants on 01992 467598 today to speak to our catering project managers