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There’s no arguing that the hospitality sector has been one of the hardest hit in 2020.

We speak with Hospitality expert Ivan Brewer on his 5 tips to help businesses survive in these trying times.

By Erica Louise / September 10, 2020

2020 has been a catastrophe for Australian small businesses, with the hospitality sector perhaps bearing the biggest brunt of the year’s misfortune. Once the country’s worst bushfire season in recent history came to a bitter end, and the pandemic washed over our shores, the country came to a standstill. With Australians ordered to stay home for a lengthy lockdown, this meant thousands of hospitality venues had to close their doors.  

Fast forward to September and aside from Victoria, the ease in restrictions across most of the country means that some restaurants and cafes have reopened. Our battle with COVID-19 however, is far from over. As we are faced with uncertainties about the future, it is true to say many businesses will not make it. Running a successful hospitality venue requires a great deal of persistence and creative thinking at the best of times. Throw a pandemic curve ball into the mix and you’ve got yourselves a monstrous hurdle to overcome.

But all is not lost. Seeking the advice from someone who knows the industry inside out, we’ve reached out to hospitality expert Ivan Brewer to shed some light on what he believes will be the key for business survival in this strange new landscape.

Ivan is a published author and key spokesperson for the hospitality industry. In our recent interview with Ivan here, he explained that we already had a crisis of profitability in hospitality “We have 40% of businesses (pre-COVID) not making money, and low single-digit net profits.” The solutions to this predicament have not really changed, more so the problems faced by businesses in hospitality now have been placed in a different context.

Knowing this, is it possible for Australian hospitality venues to make it through this terrible year and see the other side of 2020? Ivan lists his top five tips for business survival in the hospitality sector during this new “covid-normal” landscape.

  1. Short term decision making – we must measure everything and adjust based on as close to real-time information as possible. Weekly stocktakes, and weekly rostering are a must.
  2. Focus on efficiency – be it about efficiency (processes), ensuring we limit wastage (product and labour) we must maximise the return on every dollar we spend.
  3. Design smart menus with limited offerings, based upon speed – this includes items that are designed for delivery.
  4. Interrogate technology spend – we have increased from hundreds to thousands of dollars a year spent on tech, but have seen profit improvement.
  5. Don’t carry too much stock – we don’t measure inventory turnover, and we simply cannot afford to leave money on shelves.

Are you keen to know more? Follow Ivan Brewer on LinkedIn as he shares his industry insights and knowledge to help hospitality venues better understand today’s circumstances, and what it will take to succeed now and into the future.

Ivan Brewer