July 15, 2020
We all know trade has always been a more profitable channel for FMCG brands compared to retail. This is especially true at the “more boutique” end of the hospitality sector where provenance, quality and relationships have always had a monetary value that business will invest in. So, given just over a week since the "English Independence Weekend" has the loosening of the lockdown tourniquet allowed the life blood of commerce back into this critical sector?
With Wales due to relax its own restrictions on the 3rd of August how does the resurgence of hospitality in England on the 4th of July inform brands on how they develop or adapt their trade strategy?
There’s a number of things to consider. The UK Government, and devolved authorities, appear to be determined to support UK Hospitality, by offsetting conditions imposed to stop the spread of Covid19, with exemptions aimed at protecting jobs in a sector that is one of the countries largest employers. However trading figure, since we can all revisit our favourite pubs and restaurants, are only up 7% on the previous weekend and 53% down on the same weekend last year.
So up steps Rishi Sunak with a diner’s deal, employee retention bonus and a whopping VAT cut. But does this really do the trick? Your business needs increased and consistent orders from your trade customers. You need hospitality brands to be sustainable. You need the sector to be resurgent and know where the comeback is coming from.
The conversations we’re having seem to indicate that the big hospitality brands don’t mean big business. What we’re hearing is that measures undertaken by the treasury mean the most to small and mid-range pubs, clubs, restaurants and venues. That the key is “Safe Trade and Slick Service” and that technology is the answer that enables quick, convenient and profitable customer experiences, whether that’s the consumer in the bar or the business buying brands. It’s about "less traction in the transaction” - sorry for that one.
Digital commerce is no longer about next day delivery from a warehouse. For hospitality it’s now a lifeline connecting consumers with bars and kitchens - barristas and publicans. For the customer it has to be simple, fast and frictionless. For the venue owner it has to be easy to onboard, quick to deploy and totally secure.