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Recently Cosmitto’s Co-founder interviewed Wes Lambert, an influential hospitality industry leader who since May 2019 has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Restaurant & Catering Industry Association, and is the author of ‘Saving Hospitality, One Venue at a Time – The 7 Pillars to Pivoting Your Business Through a Crisis”.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the hospitality sector across Australia, Wes and his team passionately and with strength advocate for the industry’s best interests. Hear what Wes has to say further with his industry insights interview & leadership tips below.
Well, there are three extremely important characteristics that modern or the post covid restaurant leaders need to have. They need to be flexible, they need to be patient, and they need to be driven. When it comes to being flexible, hospitality leaders must understand that when it comes to a pandemic, when it comes to a crisis like this, things change very quickly and they’ll never go back to the way that they were. For patience, everything is out of their control and it is not their fault that it’s out of their control. And in fact, when it comes to things like viruses, it’s really out of everyone’s control. Lastly, leaders must be driven, you must wake up every morning believing that the ideas that you have to ensure that your business survives and drives through a crisis is right for your business. There are 2.4 million businesses in Australia, so you are the biggest champion and the biggest carer for your business – you absolutely have to be driven for the outcomes that you want.
One of our partners let us know that on average the entire country was down 60% in revenue. We also know from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that at the peak of the crisis 441,100 jobs were lost in Accommodation and Food Service, which represents a third of the jobs in the industry. In addition, The Australian recently released a report stating an estimate of 71% Business Confidence level for accommodation and food service businesses who believe over the next three months they’ll have difficulty paying bills. For business closure, we’re aware of a 10% permanent closure rate and we won’t know the actual number until the ABS report is released in February. And even then, that document is dated to June 30 2020, so we won’t know the true impact number until later next year.
Mercer’s Restaurant in Elsom Victoria owned by husband-and-wife team, Stephen and Ute Mercer. They’ve created a fine dining take out experience where you’re invited to watch Stephen Mercer via social media plate the entree, main and dessert in a way that makes it feel as though you are getting the fine dining experience in your home.
Any business that immediately pivoted to grocery or COVID-safe ways of operation, such as QR codes for their menus, were the kind of change businesses needed to make straight away in order to be seen as pivoting.
It’s really important for businesses to weigh up all of their options and explore what trends they need to pay attention to. As an example, pre-COVID there were 4 million people using some type of delivery app, today there’s now 8.7 million people registered. And that right there is habits and behaviour changing by the consumer. And what we’re seeing is in the states that are open, their delivery rate has gone from 8% to about 30%. We know people are ordering takeaway to their house at lunch time now, they’re not walking into the coffee shop at the bottom of their building in the CBD or industrial areas. Habits have changed and businesses need to reach outside of their immediate market. A valuable lesson I’ve learned is to meet people where they are.
We’re a very resilient industry – and we pivot well
Interested in learning business strategies to pivot your business? Saving Hospitality, One Venue at a Time – The 7 Pillars to Pivoting Your Business Through a Crisis book is available at WesLambert.co.
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