Life After Lockdown for the Hospitality Industry

by Caity Wynn, 3 minutes read
HOME blog life after lockdown for the hospitality industry

Deputy’s detailed report on hospitality during the pandemic is a pulse-check of the industry. Filled with illuminating insights and complemented by insider knowledge, the data and accompanying media event sparks a dialogue that looks to a brighter future for everyone. Find the full article, here.

The past two years have certainly been a time like no other. Now, as we begin to peep out of our battened-down hatches and assess the aftermath of the proverbial storm that is the global health crisis, it’s time to look ahead.

Much like the inevitable clean-up of debris following the seemingly haphazard path of a hurricane, the post-pandemic landscape is significantly changed from the pre-existing order of things. And despite COVID-19 being far from defeated, we are at least moving on, albeit masked and mandated.

For many, forward momentum requires a fair amount of recovery. Anyone who works within the radius of the hospitality industry is deeply aware that all is not what it once was. While some sectors have been thoroughly shaken, others managed to escape with a gentle stir. Still, no matter how successfully businesses took shelter, as the clouds part, the pandemic offers a double rainbow in an opportunity to both rethink and rebuild.

At Deputy, we’ve managed to harvest riveting data from our scheduling software that tells the story of the five sectors of hospitality through the pandemic. This insightful information has culminated in our Staying Open: Future Proofing Aussie Hospitality report, which delves into business through the Coronavirus, from the initial uncertainty, to the pandemonium as panic set in, to regions and cities oscillating in and out of lockdowns, as well as the upsides to come.

Spanning the sectors of Pubs & Bars; Accommodation; Restaurants; Fast Food; and Cafes and Coffee Shops, the data was pulled from the rostering of shift work on our software platforms and was collected between January 2020 to October 2021. The numbers provide some solid and fascinating truths the industry can study in order to rebuild better than it was before.

Overlaid with findings from The Pulse of the Nation Survey and other reports such as National Skills Commission Projections 2020, the Deputy report makes some enthralling predictions about the path out of the pandemic and reveals the workers and sectors who fared the best and worst during the crisis. From generational and gender discrepancies across lost shifts, to states that struggled from the impact of lockdowns, to business types that were adaptable enough to pivot to new revenues, the data captured reveals where the shadows fell most darkly.

Yet, because hospitality is so much about people and place, not simply numbers, we invited some highly regarded industry experts to share their stories and experiences from trade throughout the undulations of the pandemic. Restaurateurs Bianca Welsh of Stillwater in Tasmania, Jackie Middleton of Melbourne’s EARLS, and Shaun Christie-David of Sydney’s Colombo Social and social enterprise Plate It Forward, were joined by food writer, critic and podcaster, Anthony Huckstep. Their insights add texture to the report and their first-hand accounts colour in the conversation around the data.

Deputy then invited these experts along with select media to an event to share the report’s findings and open up the conversation around what it will take for the industry to rethink, rebuild and recover. Following the lead of the data, anecdotal evidence led to discussions around the implications and solutions of the impending labour shortages, a decentralised workforce, and the proliferation of urban hubs and automation. There were also plenty of silver linings to glimpse and dialogue around what happens now borders are reopening and we begin to celebrate the return of freedoms.

Indeed, the numbers don’t simply illuminate what went on during the pandemic, but also speak to areas around staffing, rostering and mental health that have-long been overlooked. Herein lie opportunities to rethink and rebuild the way we look at the rostering of staff, the untapped resources we can employ, and the changes we can make to be more inclusive and nurturing of who we recruit.

No doubt, the hope is we all emerge from the Coronavirus chrysalis with a more enlightened view of our businesses and the sustainable ways we can conduct them that put people on equal footing with profit to futureproof the industry.

If you would like to join the conversation, hear the insights from our experts, and learn more about the report, join the Deputy community here.

You can find the full report Staying Open: Future Proofing Aussie Hospitality here.