Will the restaurant industry survive Covid-19 crisis?
Covid-19 crisis rages on: As we mark one year since Kenya recorded it’s first case of Covid-19 on March 12, 2020, the big question is whether industries shall survive the onslaught.
The deadly virus spread across the World, claiming millions of lives and leaving a trail of pain and agony for many families.
When the pandemic started, countries were in panic mode and it was race against time to find a vaccine.
In the meantime, there was a call to adopt health protocols to flatten the curve. Measures taken include: social distancing, putting on face masks, staying at home and lock downs. Travel and mobility restrictions have resulted to temporary closure of many business including the restaurant industry, which has been highly affected.
In the pre-covid period, the restaurant industry had significantly grown in Kenya due to rapid urbanization and modernization. In the post-covid period though, the small restaurants’ entrepreneurs are fighting for their survival due to lack of funds, a shift in the customers’ behavior, changing perceptions, and negative cash flows.
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The Covid-19 crisis creates two risks for the restaurant industry. First, the restaurants are social places by design meaning implementation of social distancing impacts the business more negatively than other industries. With many restaurants operating on small margins, this makes the industry particularly vulnerable to such measures.
Secondly, there is the large impact of Covid-19 on jobs and incomes with the closure of some restaurants leading to unemployment. When people experience a reduction in their income, eating and drinking out is one of the things which they typically cut back. Evidence shows that, since the start of lockdowns and curfews, there has been more cooking at home and less eating out.
The crisis also has adversely affected the allied industries such as food and supply factories.
The restaurant entrepreneurs are today exploring some new opportunities amid the crisis and adopting innovative approaches, technological and digital interventions to meet the consumer’s needs and wants for a contactless dining experience like takeaways and home deliveries in order to survive the global crisis that threatens to take down the restaurant industry completely.
With the recent presidential address on Covid-19, will the restaurant industry survive the third wave of the virus? As part of the national response; to contain the third wave of this virus, the president extended the nationwide curfew by a further 60 days. In that regard, all bars, restaurants, and other establishments open to the public, must close by 9:00 pm.
Although exemption on the application of curfew was granted to essential services providers like factories that were allowed to operate night shifts to provide business continuity during the containment period, the restaurant industry is still affected.
Will the restaurant industry survive the third wave of Covid-19 crisis?
Purity Mandu Shikuku, studies Journalism and Digital Media at KCA University
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