It looks like the Covid-19 pandemic is not going to disappear anytime soon. With relaxations being allowed in different parts of the country, including here at Gurgaon, people are itching to get back to normal. The new normal is significantly different from the normal we left behind before the virus shook the planet.
Just like hordes of other businesses, catering companies are one of the worst-hit by the pandemic. Sharp declines in customer numbers, especially during peak wedding season, ruptured supply chains, not being able to work – are some of the monumental challenges facing catering companies in the country.
So, how will the catering business be impacted going forward? Here are a few trends that we expect and predict post-COVID-19.
1. Focussing on Good Hygiene to Win the Trust of Customers
If there is one thing that the Coronavirus outbreak has taught us, it's this – we can no longer afford to be complacent about good hygiene. Once catering companies return to work, they should spend time redefining training and food handling protocols for their employees. We can also expect new regulations to be introduced by the FSSAI.
There has to be a severe focus on sanitization in food preparation areas, kitchens, and serving zones. Catering companies should be ready to showcase videos of their kitchen and food production facilities to customers so that customers can see the sanitation and hygienic practices taken by the company.
Catering firms have to focus on sanitation and hygiene protocols to reassure guests and win their confidence.
2. Local Foods will be the Superhero
Covid-19 has shown us that a globalized world with massive supply chains will be challenging, even after it subsides. It's time to be "Aatmanirbhar" (self-reliant). In the future, catering companies will have to work on reframing their menus to include more locally-sourced ingredients.
In the last ten years, thanks to globalization, we have started including more exotic food items on our menu. From avocados to wasabi, it was all about globally trending foods. With global supply chains getting disrupted, the need of the hour is for caterers to innovate with local foods.
3. Reduced Workforce
This is one of the most significant impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Coronavirus has put an end (at least temporarily) to the big fat Indian wedding. Ceremonies, gatherings have become smaller and more intimate. This will likely be the situation for a few months, and mostly for a few years.
As a result, catering companies will be forced to downsize and reduce their workforce to stay afloat. Training has to be provided to the workforce to serve for small gatherings while practicing safe, hygienic practices.
4. Smaller Menus
With the big fat Indian wedding taking a break, and people working from home, big weddings and massive corporate gatherings are put on hold, indefinitely. Due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, people will prefer smaller groups with smaller menus to cut down costs.
From serving dozens of dishes, menus will be changed to include just a few unique dishes exquisitely prepared. Chefs will have to innovate with smaller menus while keeping up the flavors.
5. No More Buffets
It won't be an exaggeration to state that buffets have gone the way of the dinosaur. With the fear of food contamination high on every guest's mind, buffets will no longer be preferred at social gatherings. Instead, guests will select smaller menus served at tables. Sharing and self-serve menus will be removed from social groups to minimize human interactions.
6. At Home Catering
Even after the lockdown is lifted, people will continue to practice social distancing, fearing the outbreak of the second wave. As a result, parties, gatherings, and even weddings will be held at home. Catering companies will focus on providing a gourmet experience at home for small parties of just around 8 to 20 people.
Getting Back on our Feet, Stronger than Ever
Yes. The times are indeed tough. By taking proactive decisions, Captain Joe hopes to get back on our feet and continue serving our patrons with the best cuisine. We have trained our staff and changed our working methodologies to ensure the most safety of our customers. Our motto going forward will be "Safety First without Compromising on our Quality."
The Coronavirus crisis presents unexpected challenges. But, as always, we are looking at the silver lining. With the right measures, we hope to survive these tough times and emerge stronger than ever before. We are now refining our financial and operational management systems, developing the best menus 100% safe for the post-COVID-19 world.