The outbreak of the novel coronavirus and the consequential lockdown has
placed the global economy in a state of mayhem. Reeling under the impact of the
pandemic, the food and hospitality industry which is viewed to be one of the
largest generators of employment in the country, is running into heavy losses.
The travel and tourism industry has suffered a setback due to the restrictions
on movement accompanied with the suspension of flights, in turn augmenting the
unemployment rate in the country. The virus has disrupted every sphere of human
activity and the industries particularly like food and hospitality are going
through a major turbulence owing to the lockdown and the resultant economic
downturn. Undoubtedly, the sustainability of these sectors is difficult in this
current phase of social distancing.
However, the unlocking of the economy has provided much needed respite to these
industries and they are now inching back to normalcy. Though the government has
granted permission for the reopening of the hotels and restaurants, they will
have to adopt stringent practices to ensure that proper hygiene is maintained by
their staff in the premises and also during food preparation. They willhave to
elevate their sanitation levels in order to boost confidence among the guests/
Since the patrons have become more particular about hygiene, it is pivotal for
these restaurants to understand the customer needs along with their perceptions
and function in accordance to the same. As a precaution for the safety of the
guests, they might even have to reduce their seating capacity in order to
prevent overcrowding. Consumers may prefer takeaway or home delivery rather than
dining out,due to the fear induced in them because of the virus.
Although there has been some improvement in the occupancy rates of the hotels
with the easing of the restrictions, the travel industry will take sometime to
revive due to the pandemic caused global economic slowdown. The curbs on flights
will be entirely lifted only when the government is satisfied that the situation
is in control and granting permission to travel will not pose any threat/danger
to the lives of the citizens. Even after the lockdown is completely lifted,
people might remain reluctant to travel again with the same gusto be it for
business or leisure.
It can be concluded that the food and hospitality industry has been left to bear
the brunt of this coronavirus induced economic collapse and these industries
will take sometime to gain stability.
As the virus continues its assault on human lives, it is important to ensure
that there is solidarity among everyone including both large as well as small
scale business operators, because that is the only factor which will help each
one of us navigate our path to normalcy, combating this potent enemy that has
inflicted wide ranging damage on the economies worldwide.
Written By: Nirali Parekh