It’s not a solution! It’s Nonsense!
When only MacDonald’s, Starbucks and Burger King are left – full of plastic dividers, Mask wearing counter staff and touch less digitalized order procedures – please don’t tell me hospitality is still alive. It will have vanished – this is not hospitality – this is no solution!
We are hospitality – not hospitals!
And I don’t mean only the mask and dividers. Restaurant business is hard hit. In Germany they opened up after month of loosing all income. They open up with regulations and conditions they can only loose money with. And even if they break even - who works the long hours in hospitality to say thank you not to have lost money?
We have to come back to the normal busy restaurants and bars as we had them before. Crowded - full of atmosphere and lively. Otherwise the industry will vanish. Of course we have to take every precaution to avoid the spread of any virus and bacteria and after this experience it is good that this will improve everywhere.
Will guest be attracted by the clinic - hospital atmosphere?
Who as a guest wants to eat in a restaurant that is almost empty (social distancing)? We are social – we need interaction! We need to feel live!
Who likes the waiter with a mask (hard breathing under it) that adds to the empty hospital atmosphere of the restaurant (is he sick or will he get sick under the mask?)
Who needs this endless innovative creation of plastic dividers, space heads and other gimmicks that should create the feeling of safety? In a bank, a supermarket cashier it can be accepted – they don’t need atmosphere. Restaurants do!
Too many people lost their money, their jobs, their income. How can they afford to go back to a restaurant?
And if they go it is empty – smells of disinfectant and has been transformed to look like the last chamber before the morgue. Very attractive! Restaurant and Bars can not survive like that. The lockdown was deadly for approx. 80.000 restaurants that did not open anymore in Germany alone. Many that have opened now consider closing again.
“More than two-thirds of restaurants have reopened since May 11 but many are struggling to survive under the public health restrictions.
"Some nine out of ten reopened establishments expect to generate losses", says Casimir Platzer, president of the restaurant industry association GastroSuisse.”
The additional hygiene regulation and administration are a heavy additional cost for the owners. Guest don’t want to come back like this or can not come back because of financial reasons. They were afraid because of the virus of ending up in the Emergency Unit. Now their local restaurant and pub looks, smell and feel like an Emergency Unit.
Lets be honest!
Now a lot of people will call me irresponsible for not taking the virus serious and endangering the weak and old just to have a pub running. For sure not!
Boris Palmer a German Politician said recently: “We destroy millions of lives to save people who would have died anyway in the next month” This was a harsh sentence but an opinion that he should be allowed to voice. He faces exclusion from his party and raised a shit storm. Tough as his words are the statistics might prove him one day right (in Germany average age of 80 and above – almost all with other serious health issues). So I just want politicians and people to be aware that we destroy the livelihood of millions working in hospitality and other industries. We have 9.000.000.000 Euros to save Lufthansa but we don’t have money to help almost 2.000.000 elderly pensioners that live under the poverty level in Germany and collecting garbage (according to research this reduces the life span of the effected by 10 years – no reaction from politics here). Now we push the remaining hospitality workers into poverty? It appears now that the effects of the lockdown might prove more catastrophic - more deadly than the virus itself. For hospitality for sure but the effects are reaching further.
We all will have to fight for hospitality and social life. Sweden went another way and if they were right or not the future will tell us. We experienced the lockdown – now we will experience the consequences. Its up to us to make the best out of it. Lets start with restaurants, pubs, local inter action. We will have to survive and fight the virus but we have to be protected too from poverty and the resulting consequences like inflation , civil unrest and wide scale unemployment.
Hospitality was always humans for humans. It can’t exist with guest and staff wrapped in plastic cubicles! We love to serve! We will be back!
Author: Stephan Busch, Academic Director at the State University for the Humanities Moscow RGGU, Faculty of Tourism & Hospitality and the Swiss International University earned his Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA. He has a diverse experience in launching operations, business development and service training- for hotel and cruise companies in Asia, Europe, Canada and Russia.