Peter co-founded M&C Report in 1996. The service has since been rebranded as MCA following its acquisition - and later that of the Allegra Foodservice insight business - by William Reed. Since then Peter has gone on to launch and run other industry services and events, including the Peach Factory (now part of CGA). As Contributing Editor, Peter will bring his unrivalled sector experience and insight to bear through regular comment pieces, exploring the real stories behind the headlines. He will support Editor James Wallin and the editorial team in reinforcing MCA’s reputation as the leading provider of news, insight and events for the eating and drinking out sector.
The good news about hospitality having to wait until at least 4 July to start reopening is that it gives operators another month to prepare and plan. It will be valuable time, not just to hone operational protocols and procedures, but to see how the wider economy starts to function, or not, after its 1 June restart date.
The prime minister is safely back in Downing Street, and there are more signs of life in the out-of-home market as the likes of Burger King, Pret a Manger and KFC take tentative steps to reopen sites. But for much of the hospitality and leisure sector the outlook remains uncertain and confusing. Last week’s pronouncement by chief medical officer Chris Whitty that “disruptive” social distancing is likely to be a feature of day-to-day life even until the end of the year, did nothing to calm the nerves of an already under pressure industry.
So when will business - and pubs, bars and restaurant in particular - be able to open up again? It’s the question more people are beginning to ask, and the issue that has consumed much of this weekend’s media. The short answer seems to be ‘no time soon’. The press has been full of speculation, not to say confusion, about the Government’s supposed ‘three-point plan’ to start-up the economy, with talk of traffic-light systems, schools the first to open their doors as early as May 11, and even hope for the eating-out market.
So the waiting game begins. After the last weeks of frenetic activity as the hospitality sector lobbied hard for Government lifelines, most companies are locking themselves into survival mode.