Launch Statement - Covid-19 Foodservice Bulletin

March 2020

A letter from our Managing Director                             Click HERE to subscribe to the Bulletin

Dear Foodservice Colleagues,

It is stating the obvious that we and the rest of the world are going through unchartered territory at the moment with COVID-19 rapidly spreading around the globe, seriously affecting country after country.

It is also stating the obvious that foodservice markets here and around the world are fairly decimated at the moment.  Everyone is in shock – both at a personal level as well as from a business perspective.

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It is very easy in today’s situation to use words like carnage and annihilation of our beloved industry.  However, that is not true and does not help anyone.  Right now, we are going through the dark times, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if that is six months away or longer.  This is the very time to stay positive with a great fighting spirit.  We will get through to the other end with an Australian Foodservice market that is more resilient, and which is just as vibrant, unique and fast-paced and with the same plethora of different cuisines we all call our own! A psyche of a nation does not change in its fundamentals because we go through a crisis.  To the contrary!  It is who we are as Australians that have made the Australian Foodservice market one of the most exciting in the world, and why our Foodservice Dollar is so high compared to other nations.  We need to remind ourselves of this fact when we are now experiencing very troubled times.

There are many commentators out there talking about the world being changed forever by the havoc caused by the Corona Virus.  I do not believe this to be true at all.  In the last 100 years, the world has gone through two devastating world wars, and more recently, the SARS epidemic and the Global Financial Crisis.  I think it is more pertinent to say, that in many respects, the world did not learn and change due to these events.  However, we can try to understand this crisis in light of previous ones.  Hence, I am right now working with FIF’s Chief Economist, Neill Haine, drawing on his vast experience and expertise, on regular market analysis reports in the months to come where we will analyse the foodservice market impact of the COVID-19 in light of previous serious market downturns, global health crises as well as financial ones.  Naturally, this will be discussed in context of the Australian market fundamentals.  The first report will be with you at the end of next week.

Feedback from the Australian Market

Our field team has continued to interview and talk with foodservice operators around the country over the past two weeks, as per normal business.  This is what they report, being at the coalface:

  • Obviously, there is a lot of heart ache and tears among restauranteurs and café owners.
  • However, many are determined to get through and have turned to takeaway services – from morning to night.  They are busy!
  • Some operators have shut down and already walked away for always.  Why? They were already in a precarious business situation, and COVID-19 is the final nail in the coffin. The foodservice market has always and will always have many restaurant and café operators with little or no prior experience, and who should never have entered the market in the first place.
  • Other operators have shut down for the coming months, but fully expect to be back once the worst is over.
  • Motels have guests who are now in isolation – they need to eat with lunch and dinner meals delivered in from nearby foodservice outlets.
  • Espresso and coffee bars often too busy to talk with us this week as they are doing a roaring trade in takeaway coffees.
  • Nothing has changed in Nursing Homes.

Stay tuned, as I said, we will be back end of next week with our first Covid-19 Foodservice Bulletin.  Currently, market forecasts are meaningless, it is all conjecture. Hence, our regular Market Outlook report due out end of March is currently filed away!

Take care, this, too, shall pass……

Kind regards,
Sissel Rosengren
Managing Director                                             Click HERE to subscribe to the Bulletin