The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the world and the food and drink sector has been considerable. Restaurateurs who are trying to develop solutions in this process are trying to turn the crisis into an opportunity with the right steps. “We need to put aside the pessimism and create an urgent action plan,” says Foodinlife Executive Editor Gökmen Sözen, who has written about the situation that HoReCa sector in. Here is Gökmen Sözen’s article that the whole sector should act together within the framework of the common mind.
It’s not about who does what anymore, it’s about what we do together.
We have been trying to get the views of all stakeholders of the HoReCa sector since the crisis began. We quickly relay everything that is going on not only in our country but in the world, to our followers and the sector.
We know we’re facing an extraordinary situation, but we need to put aside the panic and the pessimism and come up with an urgent action plan. However, this action plan should not be between the individual or specific groups, it should create a common sense and the whole sector should be able to act together.
Unfortunately, the sector’s co-action muscle is very weak, but the solutions that will be created by all stakeholders are very important and inclusive. An action plan should be created on behalf of the entire sector, whether it is a member of NGOs or not. The food and beverage and hospitality sector is a very large sector from shopping centres to street flavours, chefs, farmers and hotels. All stakeholders of this sector need to come together and form working groups. When stakeholders come together, two issues will come forward; cash flow and new operating standards:
1- As the cash flow will have stopped after the end of the crisis, it is urgently necessary to review the channels that can create a liquid. I believe that suppliers, banks, credit card and meal card companies provide upfront and loans. I think that both our banks and meal card companies can build a budget by doing risk analysis. There is a need for the support and guidance of the relevant ministries on this issue. I suggest that the food card companies sell their food vouchers to companies in advance and give this budget support to their member businesses. That is to say, obliquely creating a few months budget for the HoReCa sector with different sectors getting their meal cards upfront. The same method should be done with companies such as Visa, Master Card or American Express for top segment restaurants. The start of liquid flow will gradually start turn the wheels. All segments of the system will gradually start to breathe. I would like to underline the necessity of obtaining guarantees and conducting risk analyses for this entire system.
2- New operation standards; the application kits related to hygiene and food safety should be started and the training should be taken quickly in restaurants and hotels. In this part, the support of food safety associations and hygiene experts is important. The necessary equipment, materials and training need to be put into operation with support from the related suppliers.
It is very painful that all stakeholders cannot come together and form an effective plan of action even though resources are so scarce. We need to act together to channelize both effort and resources properly. It’s not about who does what anymore, it’s about what we do together. We don’t have time to lose, so we have to move quickly and get ready. We can only overcome these difficult times with common sense.