Revival and regrowth of India’s food and catering industry from COVID -19

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The world is still coming in terms with the sudden outbreak of COVID-19. The pandemic’s consequences have been extremely catastrophic, globally. The timely decisions taken by the Government of India to cease the travelling, cancel visas and initiate nation-wide lockdown was appreciable. Although, we have seen a major loss of life in our country, the situation in India is considered to be better than how badly it has impacted developed countries like America and Italy. Apart from the loss of life which India has seen, the economic detriment which the country is about to face cannot be neglected.
With the cease in travelling and the lockdown in the country, the hospitality, travel and tourism sector has witnessed a major downfall. An estimated loss of at least Rs 620 crore will be faced by the Indian Hospitality Industry. As per the report by Hotelivate, Q4 FY2020 and Q1 FY2021 will bear the maximum losses. Although, we fear that in case the epidemic soars, this loss may be just the tip of an iceberg. The reduced traffic in hotels and restaurants is leading to their downfall. Due to the termination of gatherings and functions, the catering industry will see the back fall.
The biggest lesson which the food and catering industry can take from this pandemic is increased focus on health and sanitation. The restaurant and catering industry in particular needs to adapt tough practices to ensure that the working staff while preparing and serving food follow the best hygiene practices. Because even after this pandemic is resolved, the diners would prefer a place where they know that sanitation levels are up to the mark.
Despite the social distancing, the restaurants are allowed to operate their kitchens and the food delivery services are still active. The concern of safety and hygiene has led to a fall in the number of delivery orders. Food aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato have seen a loss of over 25 percent in their business. With the current scenario, the plight of this segment does not seem to improve soon, even post lockdown. As per the reports of NRAI, an estimated loss of Rs 80,000 crore will be faced by the restaurant and food industry in 2020.
The cloud kitchen players would be under strict considerations since they were under the least regulations until now. The food and catering industry will definitely struggle in retaining their talent of quality and service with no revenue coming in. Few reports and experts suggest that taking care of hygiene levels and keeping healthier options on the menu can help the restaurant in reviving. Because it would be very hard to convince the customers that the outlets are safe. A good outcome of this calamity is worthy to be noticed. Unhealthy food has been the center of attraction in this pandemic and with this FSSAI and HACCP standards will become inflexible now for the food and catering industry. The industry will definitely undergo a massive change.
The strict rule of social distancing in the country has ceased any meetings, gatherings, parties or functions. Since the disease can be easily transmitted from one person to another, it is advisable to maintain quarantine. Any recklessness and hasty decisions can lead to disastrous situation and a grave threat to human life.
As of now, holding events or functions are not allowed and the catering industry is the bearer of the losses. It is facing losses in the present scenario and the future is not any better for them. The rule of social distancing is likely to increase and even after it is ceased, a large number of people will not be allowed to gather together so soon. The catering industry will now have to pay more attention to their hygiene, food logistics and quality. A single mistake can result in a major loss for them. Destination weddings are less likely to be seen anytime soon in India. No travelling, no gathering and no destination weddings. Estimates show, every 7 out of 10 employees is under the threat of being laid off in the food industry due to COVID-19.
As of now following social distancing is the need of the hour but someday or the other we have to unite again. The restaurant and catering industry, however, will have to reduce their tables now to provide more breathing space to their guests. The food and restaurant industry is no way of shutting down because we Indians love social gathering and we will never stop eating. Although it was hard for the food and catering industry to bear with the lockdown the reviving industry would definitely come back with a bloom.
Vegetarian and fresh seasonal foods are expected to dominate the industry after the situation is resolved. The imported ingredients need to be replaced with the local ingredients. Due to low revenue importing of ingredients would be a bad choice. Ayurveda will play a major role this time. It would be used more widely and frequently. Hot food could be preferred over cold food in the coming time.
Conscious dining needs to be implemented in the food and restaurant industry after the end of COVID-19 in the country. The major focus of the food and restaurant industry should be on the best utilization of resources available. Because after facing a pandemic in the country, a lot of us have learned the value of our natural produce. Smaller formats and fewer expenses need to be implemented in restaurants. The nightlife of the industry will definitely be affected due to economic breakdown. The coming three months would be difficult but the industry will revive soon and within a year it will bloom again.
The country is handling this pandemic with absolute effectiveness and bravery. The hospitality industry will face a down fall but we believe that it has the potential to recuperate. As per food and catering industry, we could take this as an opportunity to reinvent or innovate. New challenges also give space to new ideas and we will only look at the brighter side. During this pandemic situation, we will stand together in unity and work hard for the flourishing of the country. Our present and foremost duty is to Stay Safe and Stay at Home.

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