Briony Brookes is head of PR and communications at Cape Town Tourism. Spending the best part of her career in radio as head of Brand for KFM and Cape Talk, she then spent some time in the investment industry with Sanlam and Old Mutual before joining the exciting world of tourism just over two years ago.ByRobin Fredericks
Kate Owen is Uber SA marketing manager for Rides and Eats, based in Johannesburg. Having been at Uber for over four years, Kate has covered the marketing for Uber South Africa, the brand campaigns for Uber SSA and now research and strategy.
Prior to this, Owen gained through-the-line and digital marketing experience working for Ogilvy and Mather Johannesburg where she operated in a client service role working with international brands across the retail, FMCG and broadcast sectors.ByRobin Fredericks
It is no dispute that the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions - lockdown, curfew and the alcohol ban (as necessary as they have been in certain circumstances) - have had a devastating effect on South Africa's hospitality and wine industries.
We have seen a slew of well-loved restaurants close doors recently and one can only be deeply saddened to think of all the lives negatively affected by their closures.
Total income for accommodation dropped by 66,8%, and food and beverage decreased 36,3% year-on-year in November 2020, but the real damage is likely to be far worse...
21 Jan 2021
Rosemary Anderson, Fedhasa chairperson comments:
“Dire findings were reported for the food and beverage sector, down 36,3% in November 2020 compared with November 2019. Despite the reintroduction of alcohol sales during this period, the largest decrease was recorded for bar sales (-54,3%), while restaurants and coffee shops were the biggest contributor to the decline (-51,3%), followed closely by catering services (-50,3%).”
Furthermore, the income figures released by Stats SA do not reflect the number of hospitality businesses that have had no choice but to close doors.
"The real figure is even more alarming, even though the hospitality industry is theoretically open, the constraints – which include tourist attractions such as beaches being closed, the reduction in the number of patrons allowed, reduced operating hours and the ban on the sale of liquor – make it financially unviable for many businesses to continue to operate,” adds Anderson.
Without alcohol or tourism, our revenue has taken a significant knock. In terms of reservations, we are down 85% last year. In our industry, busier summer months subsidise our quieter winter season, and without this buffer, the restaurant closures will continue. It's heart-breaking, seeing some of my best-loved restaurants – Cape Town institutions like La Mouette, La Tete and Upper Bloem – all close around us,’’ comments Matt Manning of Grub & Vine.
Restaurants and wine farms are continually scrambling and ‘pivoting’ to innovate, support their staff and keep afloat in an arena where the rules seem to be constantly changing. We may not be able to predict how and when things may return to a more stable way of life and how the government may react and when they will buckle down or ease up on restrictions but there are still a few ways we can help support our local restaurants and wine farms safely and responsibly.
Here are seven easy ways to help these struggling industries:
Buy now, drink later
Help cash flow for wine estates and restaurants by purchasing vouchers and wine to be claimed at a time once it is safe and legal to do so. Many wineries are currently offering buy-now-claim-later deals on some outstanding wine at some seriously great prices.
CyberCellar director, David Cope, shares that: “While it's a stressful time for anyone in wine retail, CyberCellar is proactively engaging with our customers, creating unique offers to encourage support and pre-orders that we can dispatch as soon as the ban ends. A ban is always an unfortunate situation but thankfully we can use the time to curate our offering, introduce new ideas and plan for the year ahead.”
From Covid-19 to an economic downturn, so much of our energy was spent just getting through each day. For many of us in the wine industry, this became a lot harder when a ban on alcohol sales was implemented in late March 2020.
Join us as we take a moment to reflect on what was and the lessons we can take into the new year...
Celebrate special occasions with virtual dining and meal delivery kits
Feel too nervous to venture out to sit-down restaurants? Then perhaps try ordering one of the many fine-dining meal delivery kits currently on offer. Prepare dishes in the comfort of your own home often guided virtually by some of SA’s top chefs. Just perfect for a special occasion celebration at home.
Cut out the middleman and rather order directly from your favourite restaurant so they don’t lose out from having to pay middleman fees to delivery companies.
Business Insider reported that: “Uber Eats and Mr D Food ask outlets up to 30% commission on each meal or on their platforms to cover operational costs – even as they ask those restaurants to charge the same as they would in-store.”
Eat at wine farms
Even though wine cannot be served currently, don’t forget about the outstanding meals you can still enjoy at these estates and farms.
Well the answer is, of course, that nobody knows, because nobody knows how a global epidemic plays out. But assuming that we don't end up in some apocalyptic scenario where old buttons are our only meaningful currency and we end up living on a diet of artisanal pool algae, there will be restaurants. And we will go to them. But what will the industry look like?..
The low- and no-alcohol trend is most definitely on the rise, even more so now because of the alcohol ban, and wine farms are fast-tracking supply to this market. Support your favourite wine, spirits and beer brands by purchasing their non- and de-alcoholised offerings.
Be it food products, fast food restaurants, coffee shops etc., where possible put a hold on supporting the big international franchises and rather look to buy from local equivalents.
Interact on social media
Every like, comment, review and share help and can help spread the deals and visibility for struggling establishments.
As consumers, we have a powerful and free way to support our struggling estates. By simply taking to our own social media platforms and sharing the stories of our favourite wines – why we love them, the story behind the brand, how we came across them, etc. – we invite others into that narrative. Since studies have shown that user-generated content is always a more powerful hook than content from brands themselves, we’ll hopefully encourage our friends to buy a bottle or two, and in this climate, every bottle counts," comments independent travel journalist and tour guide, Jared Ruttenberg.
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