Published 13 December 2022
Emma Underwood, General Manager of Midland Grand Dining Room
Since March 2020, it has been impossible to look at the future of our industry without considering that fateful month and all that has changed since.
We’ve bounced from one crisis to another, navigating a cacophony of challenges. The era of covid is an epoch that has seen hospitality transformed in ways we thought we’d never witness within our personal histories. Through two and a half years the (far from roaring) 2020s have already seen us traversing lockdowns, closures, staffing shortages, illnesses and health issues, supply disruption, rising food costs, and energy price hikes.
For too many, the ability to keep doors open has become an insurmountable task and there’s been a depressing catalogue of closures. But though the future is uncertain, a telling passion remains, and the only way is forward.
Despite it only being the beginning, the decade we find ourselves in has taught us some valuable lessons. A recent past with periods of isolation and lockdowns has taught us the joy of company and how fortunate we all are to work in places that celebrate that joy. We are the conduits of social interaction,
an aspect of life that was sorely taken away from us.
Restaurants have people at their core. It’s an obvious fact to state, but hospitality business models for too long operated on staffing levels that were unsustainable. It reached a breaking point, and while we suffered through it should prove a more fruitful future. Recent years have seen wages rise and conditions improve. Shortages have led to a rehaul in approach to recruitment and retention as we all focus on the importance of people.