How Australia’s hospo industry is hurting
Across the country we've watched popular cafe and restaurants struggle in lockdown and ordered takeaway where we can to keep businesses ticking over.
And while the recovery landscape is unclear, there's some new ideas on the table so the community can rally around the hospitality industry.
These include Matt Moran and Neil Perry masterclasses, platforms where hungry future diners can buy pre-paid vouchers for when in-house dining resumes and interactive food and drink experiences that create an in-restaurant experience at home.
Delicious Editor-in-Chief Kerrie McCallum said while the restrictions are changing, operators will still need to find ways to engage with their customers, showing the same flair many have since the lockdown.
"Quite a few restaurants have come up with innovative ways to operate and it's been really exciting to see the quality of produce, take-home meals, and delivery options that have emerged from this," Ms McCallum said.
"I'm almost overwhelmed with all the great choices and many are at a really competitive price point. I hope these takeaway or at home offerings continue on some level as I love being able to access all of this at home."
There are hundreds of venues in Queensland, Victoria, NSW and Australia involved in these initiatives that are bolstering the industry.
But it's all mutually beneficial.
When else would you get a private lesson from famous chefs like Moran, Perry and also Luke Mangan at home or secure a seat at your favourite local restaurant or get extra value from a booking?
Moran, co-owner of Solotel venues such as Aria, Chiswick and North Bondi Fish, has been teaching people the tricks of his trade via Help Out Hospo to assist the industry.
"I don't think people saw the devastation of what actually happened when we closed," he said.
"We had no control over the severity of this crisis and it breaks my heart.
"Many of us pivoting our brands to survive and prepare for the "new" normal. We have reopened Chiswick takeaway and would love to see you all there picking up our famous lamb shoulder for dinner.
"I am also part of a fantastic initiative called HelpOutHospo created to sell home hospitality videos to people at home with all profits going to out-of-work hospitality staff. You can learn how to cook my famous snapper tacos and know that your donation is helping someone less fortunate than you during this time."
Owner of Melbourne and Sydney restaurants Daughter In Law and Don't Tell Aunty, Jessi Singh, said loyal customers can continue their support by going directly to the restaurant and ordering during the week.
"Most restaurants are coming up with some at home offering and there are plenty of great options beyond just regular takeaway," he said.
"Ordering directly from the restaurant is always best if possible as fees from third parties … the money tends not to go to the people in need.
"If you can pick up from the restaurant that makes things heaps easier as most restaurants are not set up to do delivery.
"Ordering on days other than Friday and Saturday helps to support longer trading hours which means more hours for staff. Try to spread your love around!"
"Any support that a small business like ours gets is welcome." says George Koritsa of Annex Cafe in Glenelg, which has joined the Save Hospitality campaign.
"We use local suppliers: my milk comes from Lobethal, my coffee comes from Grange Rd.
"I know where all of my products come from - and all of my suppliers are struggling because if businesses like mine are not selling coffees we're not buying milk, we're not buying coffee and food and so on.
"This helps keep my staff employed. In terms of takings we're 86 per cent down. That has had a huge impact on our suppliers, too. "
INITIATIVES HELPING AUSTRALIA'S HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
- Help Out Hospo offers online cooking and cocktail courses led by professionals such as Matt Moran, Neil Perry and Luke Mangan no matter where you are in Australia for as little as $10, which goes to the fund.
- TheFork's Save Our Restaurants campaign allows customers to purchase prepaid vouchers from restaurants across NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia which have registered through the website, and that will help restaurants pay costs now and reap the benefits when the venue reopens.
- SilverChef and InKind's Save Hospitality campaign also encourages diners to buy vouchers to their favourite restaurants through the InKind app to maintain a revenue stream during the COVID-19 restrictions, plus gives buyers bonus credit - spend $10 get $15 value.
- Combine charity and hospitality with the Cure Cancer Biggest Virtual BarbeCURE on May 16. Ambassadors and chefs from Peter Gilmore of Quay to Julie Goodwin will host their own virtual BBQs and release their favourite recipes such as Gilmore's Korean marinated BBQ chicken.
- It must be time for a drink! Many local establishments have mobilised their liquor offering, such as Nola, Anchovy Bandit, Yiasou George and The Stag Public House in Adelaide, Mr Consistent cocktails available Australia-wide and Campari's global cocktail delivery initiative, Shaken Not Broken, that directly supports the hospitality industry.