Hospitality sector concerned with vaccine rollout as restaurants face bumpy recovery, new Deliveroo report reveals

Deliveroo

Hospitality sector concerned with vaccine rollout as restaurants face a bumpy recovery, Deliveroo HospoVitality Index Report reveals

  • Restaurant sector confidence has fallen to +25 (net balance), from +42 in January 2021, a significant drop in just 6 months
  • Less than half (46%) of restaurants feel positive about the future of the hospitality sector in Australia, down from 59% at the start of the year, this is balanced by longer-term optimism, with the majority (57%) positive about their prospects a year from now
  • Most restaurants (58%) say they feel some level of concern about how delays in the national vaccination rollout may impact their business and just over half (53%) say they are to some degree concerned by the idea of serving unvaccinated customers
  • Six in ten restaurants (59%) say the availability of staff is the greatest challenge they face, a rise of 20 points, since the start of the year
  • Delivery will continue to be a pivotal part of businesses operations with 61% of restaurants and 71% of takeaway businesses saying that food delivery will play an even larger part of their business post Covid-19

THURSDAY 29TH JULY 2021

Restaurant sector confidence has fallen from +42 (net balance)1 in January 2021, to +25 today, according to the latest Deliveroo HospoVitality Index Report.

Halfway through 2021, less than half of restaurants (46%) say they feel positive about the future of the hospitality sector in Australia, down from 59% at the start of the year. A fifth of restaurants feel negative about the future of the sector (21%), a strong reminder to all Australians that the pandemic and its reverberations are far from over across the country’s restaurant sector.

The survey, conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Deliveroo, revealed how many of the impacts from COVID-19 disproportionately affect the hospitality industry, with a slower than expected vaccine rollout, snap lockdowns and severe workplace shortages curbing the sector’s recovery.

Across the country, a majority of restaurant owners have concerns about the delays to the national vaccination rollout (58%), while only one quarter (24%) of restaurants feel that the national vaccine rollout has so far been adequate.

Hospitality workers are in a high exposure industry, and our data shows that a notable number of restaurant owners (24%) would like to know a customer’s vaccination status and have the option of not serving them in the event of future outbreaks. Just over half (53%) also say they are to some degree concerned about serving unvaccinated customers.

Against a backdrop of a severe talent crunch and concerns over the vaccine roll out, restaurant owners are continuing to look for ways to thrive in a difficult environment. Six in ten restaurants expect food delivery will play an even larger role in their business operations than before the pandemic (61%), a finding similar to the start of 2021 (up two points from 59%). Among take away restaurants this figure is even higher, with 71% believing that delivery will increasingly become more important to their business model moving forward.

The survey, of more than 500 restaurant owners across Australia, was conducted to understand business confidence, industry challenges, and how restaurants have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and was in the field when Victoria was again pushed into lockdown on 27 May. Note this was prior to the current lockdowns in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne.

The third Deliveroo HospoVitality Report provides a snapshot of a hospitality industry that is experiencing a bumpy and uneven recovery. In Victoria, confidence in the sector has now suffered a significant decline of 26 points to +21 and confidence in NSW has fallen by 17 points to +222, while in Queensland, hospitality businesses maintain their strong positive outlook at +45, an improvement of five points since the start of the year.

While many restaurants do not see their outlook improving significantly in the very near future, a majority (57%) are positive about their prospects a year from now. As the sector transitions from pandemic survival to recovery, and then growth, this cannot happen without the right people staffing up the industry.

Six in ten restaurants (59%) say the availability of staff is the greatest challenge they face, a significant rise of 20 points since the start of the year, and over a period when much government pandemic support including the critical JobKeeper wage subsidy has been withdrawn.

The key to a stable and consistent recovery for the hospitality sector is enabling businesses to find and hire the skilled workers that they need. Government support is vital in this regard, with restaurant owners saying they would like government support in: the relaxation of border restrictions for skilled foreign workers (51%), support for businesses to offer training and apprenticeships (49%) and greater incentives for young people to undertake skills training (37%).

The Deliveroo HospoVitality Index is produced biannually as a recurring benchmark for the hospitality sector. It will cover these issues and other emergent topics relevant to the industry to assist Deliveroo in tracking the evolving recovery of the hospitality sector throughout the rest of 2021.

Ed McManus, CEO Deliveroo Australia: “This year has been a rollercoaster for the hospitality industry and a clear reminder that the pandemic and its repercussions are far from over. Central to the sector’s recovery is the success of Australia’s vaccine rollout if we are to continue to avoid snap lock downs and to eventually open up Australia’s borders.

Many of the ongoing impacts from COVID-19 disproportionately affect the hospitality industry and the thousands of Australians who work in it. Encouragingly restaurants across Australia have demonstrated immense resilience and adaptability through this difficult time.

Deliveroo is committed to being a catalyst for the sector’s recovery. Covid has cemented a shift in consumer behaviour towards food delivery with more and more restaurants seeing food delivery as a bright spot in the current operating environment and into the future.

At Deliveroo, we are laser focused on enabling a thriving, safe and dynamic hospitality industry – for restaurants, riders and customers. We hope that the findings in this HospoVitality Index Report chart a pathway for the sector’s road to recovery and long-term success.”

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