From financial shortfall to staff shortages, operators are facing a whole new set of challenges as hospitality reopens.
Our business development chef James Parker shares his insight into the struggles being felt throughout the industry right now and what operators can do to overcome these issues.
“The impact of covid-19 has been devastating on the foodservice sector. Making up for an almost year-long period without trade, and increased cleaning costs, businesses are inevitably having to watch every penny.
“Operators are looking to create good-quality dishes to entice customers back into their premises. However every product being brought into the business is being scrutinised on what it can deliver so the more versatility an ingredient can offer, the better.”
Supporting operators as they get back to business, James is helping to create a series of “Five Ways With…” to showcase creative ways to use one product, starting with Macphie’s Sticky Toffee Sensation® mix which launched this summer.
“Some trends never go out of fashion and in times of uncertainty, it doesn’t hurt to have some classic concepts on your menu. Do them well and your customers will keep coming back. Our Sticky Toffee Sensation® delivers a consistent performance every time and can be topped with our Toffee Sauce which can be poured direct from the carton and heated in the microwave, on the hob or using a Bain Marie.
“In the wake of Brexit, teamed with covid-19, staff shortages are rising across the UK in a number of areas. During periods of furlough, many hospitality workers sought out new career opportunities meaning some operators were reopening with reduced teams and its proving difficult to entice workers back to the industry.
“The constant threat of staff having to self-isolate if they’ve been in contact with people who have tested positive for covid-19 is also causing chaos in the kitchen, causing further shortages or staff having to step into different roles as cover.
“This is causing a lack of skills in some kitchens, driving up demand for easy-to-use products and straightforward recipes. We’ve been working with a number of back-of-house teams to provide support and help users realise the potential in their products. Our ready-to-use sweet and savoury sauce range and heat-chill-serve desserts can create menus bursting with variety and flavour, without complication. They can be stored ambiently, freeing up fridge space, and cut out the need for scratch cooking or for buying multiple ingredients.
As the industry reopens, footfall is variable, and while operators get to grips with new buying habits and navigate their way through the changing landscape, waste is showing to be another key issue.
“Preparing for the unknown makes it pretty difficult to write an accurate shopping list. Buying too little risks letting incoming customers down but too much is causing waste.
“Wherever possible, turn to products with a long shelf-life or are versatile in application. This was another reason for starting our Five Ways With campaign, to help operators find new uses for products that might need used up. Our Sticky Toffee Sensation® Mix is available in 12.5kg bags but has a shelf-life of nine months and can be used to create comforting sticky toffee puddings, premium desserts, muffins and traybakes. You can add value with additional products or keep it simple and reduce costs as it tastes great on its own.”