• Simon Moir

The mandate, be kind to hospitality.

Lately, I have been wondering whether starting a hospitality-focused agency at the beginning of a pandemic was the right choice. It’s been hard, but I still think it was a good decision. Like at no other time, we have learnt so much about the in's and out's of the industry, the unexpected challenges of business, and the (limited) opportunities that this period has offered to those who took the right chance at the right time.

A shortage of people is something that almost every venue around the state is facing. From the most well-known restaurants in Perth to my brother’s fish & chip shop in Exmouth – everyone is struggling to staff a full roster in both front and back of house. At this stage, 2 years in, it’s practically impossible to keep running at an efficient level, and keep your customers happy, and not burn out your employees.

Despite staff shortages, a few lockdowns, and ongoing uncertainty, we have otherwise been pretty lucky in Western Australia thus far. Unfortunately, I feel that the biggest challenge is yet to come, and it's going to kick hospitality right where it needs it least – its already stretched-too-thin people.

Now the pressure is on to create and implement business continuity plans and answer all the possible “what if?” questions:

  • What will you do if a critical team member gets sick or the business is an exposure site?

  • What will happen to your menu if your supply chains collapse?

  • What happens when the borders open – will you lose your employees at the same time an influx of tourists arrive?

On top of this pressure, venues are about to face a new challenge – enforcing the government’s proof-of-vaccination requirements for entry to venues. Now, checking a vax certificate might be a couple of extra steps for venues with one entrance and a bouncer, but what about all the small bars, bottle shops, and cafes? As if the pressure wasn’t enough; now venues need to work out how to manage this, and deal with the inevitable backlash from the “pro-choice” crowd, who don’t seem to understand that the rules aren’t made by the people who have to enforce them.

I can only hope that that the greater community realise that this requirement is not optional for venues. They are not the ones mandating proof of vaccination – some of them don’t even agree with it themselves – but if you don’t follow the rules, they are the ones who will face the consequences.

We have been working with clients on how best to manage this change and are more than happy to speak to anyone to share our experience, but in the meantime this blog is more of a public service announcement.

Some tips for Joe Public.

  1. Be kind and empathetic, most businesses are doing the best they can with the limited resources they have to work with.

  2. It might take a little longer to get to the beer fridge, or the bar, or your table, but understand the pressure staff are under through no fault of their own. Smile, be gracious, let the overworked employees know that you appreciate their hard work.

  3. Be prepared, navigate setting up the confusing Service WA app / GovID disaster of a process before you leave your house – and help your mum set hers up too.

  4. When you get to a venue, have your app and any ID that you need ready before you walk in, along with ensuring the others you are with have the same.

  5. Always remember, you have the right to choose if you get the required jabs… venues don’t have the same choice so revert to point one and be kind and understanding.

If you are a venue or event owner that would like some guidance around managing this significant change to your business, please get in touch and we would be more than happy to help in any way that we can.

*The video below was produced by the hospitality industry to encourage people to get the jab so they could open up again, another example of how industry have been left holding the baby. Exceptionally well produced and worth a watch if you haven't seen it.

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