FOODSERVICE RECOVERY WITH DAN HEAD
1. How do you think coronavirus has impacted the food and drink industry?
The impact of Coronavirus on the Food and Drink world has been industry changing. From manufactures, suppliers, distributors, end sites and everyone in between – it’s hit businesses and livelihoods harder than anyone could have predicted.
If you look at the impact on suppliers (where we as Visionary work) it can really be broken up into short, medium and long term effects. Short term effects are obviously an immediate lack of sales which provides significant challenges from maintaining manufacturing facilities, paying staff and generally affording to run a business at the same levels as the start of the year – but with a significant drop in revenue. This will obviously lead to many businesses having to make unprecedented changes to their operations.
Medium term effects will likely be around getting back up and running. If Food and Drink suppliers are making significant changes to their businesses then this will impact the business going forward. It will take time to get sales back up and running, facilities scheduling and manufacturing stock and product getting out the door and into kitchens or on to shelves. Sales team will be restricted in how they interact with customers and end sites will be restricted on how much stock they can take in due to decreased footfall. Recovery plans will need to be at least an 18 month journey.
Long term effects are obviously the lasting damage Covid-19 will have on our wonderful industry. We are already seeing casualties of the pandemic from QSR chains to suppliers themselves; and this will unfortunately continue as businesses have to get back to some normality without continued government support passed October. We are yet to see how consumer habits have changed and how decreased footfall will impact sites and stock volumes.
What I will say though despite the negative impacts that the food and drink world is facing is that we are an extremely resilient industry. We will get through the other side with the support of passionate consumers and innovative manufactures, supplier, distributors and end sites.
2. Being very busy usually, has this time been difficult?
I am still finding myself as busy as ever; but in different ways. We have been developing updated Foodservice strategies for the brands we represent and working on new and diverse opportunities for our brand partners also. We are working to ensure these brands are front of the queue and built for the comeback as our industry re opens in phases.
3. What has your average day been like during lockdown?
Every day really is still very different. Zoom is my new best friend and I am on daily calls with the brands we work with, our distribution partners and key end users sites. One day I can be head down in my laptop building a new foodservice strategy, the next day on a Zoom with a US distributor mapping out our new sales plan for autumn/winter and the next day on a zoom with a contract caterer such as Talkington Bates or Compass Ireland running through launch dates and new ways of working.
4. Have you learnt anything new? Or have you enjoyed anything in your spare time more?
I am currently in the process of becoming a school governor for my local education trust in Wiltshire so my time in the evenings and weekend is being taken up by this at the moment. I am having to keep up with government reports on schools returning during Covid and recommendations for education moving forward. These reports certainly aren’t ‘light’ reading.
5. What are you most looking forward to getting back to normal with your worklife?
Meeting people. Whether that be the brands we work with, distributors, end customers and other colleagues in the industry. When you work in such a hospitable channel as Foodservice; relationships and networking is the lifeblood of what we do!
6. Have you got anything on in the future which you cant wait to get started on and you are excited about?
Up until March we were working extensively in the US overseeing a number of brand launches for our partners. We have a few more launches agreed for Autumn/Winter so I am looking forward to getting back out there and getting these moving.
7. What are you looking forward to after lockdown?
If you want to know more about our Foodservice strategies - get in touch with Dan today!