GS Magazine – latest industry announcements
In the past few days we have received dozens of business announcements regarding how the Coronavirus is affecting the hospitality industry, what companies are doing to cope with it, how they’re trying to protect customers and staff and what they intend to do in an attempt to stay in business. We are also receiving important announcements from leading trade bodies and government departments. Many of these announcements are important and may be of direct relevance to you and your business. This page will be used to add relevant items and will therefore be updated several times per day. The most recent announcements will always appear at the top.
31st March 2020
Hospitality crisis support hub launched by HOSPA to collate offers of help
HOSPA, the Hospitality Professionals Association, has launched a hospitality crisis support hub, which aims to highlight businesses looking to offer help during the ongoing coronavirus crisis – be that services offered gratis, or at greatly reduced cost to help hospitality businesses continue to operate.
Frontline hospitality businesses – hotels, restaurants, pubs and more – have been forced to close their doors following COVID-19 shutdown measures. However, many are still operating in some capacity, with some having revamped business models to provide takeaway, delivery or even call and collect groceries. Others have gone above and beyond, repurposing as NHS accommodation and homeless shelters.
Whilst still running, even in a reduced capacity, these operators will need the appropriate infrastructure in place to work. In light of this, a number of hospitality industry providers have come forward to offer their services either entirely free of charge, or at a reduced rate to help facilitate continued operation for those businesses that are able to do so.
Jane Pendlebury, CEO of HOSPA, said: “The hospitality industry is in dire straits, with many businesses having had to close. However, some are soldiering on regardless – either launching new, reworked offerings, or by offering their services to the sectors and sections of society that need them most. The businesses that are still operating – and even those that are practically on full lockdown – still need infrastructure and support functions to keep going. Many of our members at HOSPA are stepping forward to offer their services, either gratis or at a much reduced rate to help them stay open.”
She continued: “With that in mind, we wanted to collate these into one, easily accessible hub. That way, businesses can simply take a look through and see if anything fits their present needs, or see if there’s anything extra that could enhance their capabilities, and then engage with the provider accordingly.”
The crisis support hub isn’t just limited to HOSPA members, with any suitable businesses able to put their services forward for inclusion.
Jane continued: “We’re seeing some fantastic gestures across the hospitality spectrum. For instance, the wonderful move of Gary Neville and GG Hospitality, which, as well as promising no staff redundancies, is offering free accommodation to NHS staff who need to stay away from their families, with others going even further, such as Best Western, which is offering 15,000 beds to NHS staff in a similar fashion.”
She concluded: “Within this wider theme of the industry pulling together, there are also those businesses who don’t have a primary offering, but who can help in a support function. These are the businesses who are contributing to our crisis hub. We’ll be updating it continuously as offers of help come in so do please check in regularly to see what’s on offer.
To access the crisis support hub, please visit: hospa.org/crisis-support
To add an offering to the hub, please email email@example.com
30th March 2020
Michael Mulligan, insolvency partner at law firm, Shakespeare Martineau, said:
“Carluccio’s restaurant chain and rent-to-own retailer, BrightHouse, have both collapsed into administration today, putting the jobs of over 6,400 employees at risk.
“While both businesses had been facing hard times, it appears that the coronavirus pandemic was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“The administrators of Carluccio’s and BrightHouse will look to preserve the businesses and their employees’ futures, working with HMRC under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
“Where a company is in administration, the administrators will be able to access the scheme.
“These unprecedented times are taking their toll on the casual dining sector, with the few restaurants and cafes that are still open for business now reliant on takeaway and delivery custom.
“The Government has stated its intention to get money moving to businesses, immediately recognising the imminent threat of insolvencies in many sectors.
“At present, cash is king and, for those businesses without cash or access to credit lines, there is a need for businesses to understand their position immediately, to protect themselves against the financial damage from coronavirus.”
20th March 2020
In the wake of the latest briefing from the Prime Minister and the Chancellor around the UK’s coronavirus reaction, here are the thoughts of Jane Pendlebury, CEO of HOSPA, the Hospitality Professionals Association.
“As feared, more lockdown restrictions are now in place. However, as an industry we appreciate both the urgency and the need behind these measures. A huge relief though is the Government’s promise to pay 80% of wages. One of the biggest fears amongst hospitality operators is how they can pay their non-working staff. These fears are now greatly allayed. Given the need for flexible business models, this will enable operators to streamline their operations, allowing them to invite in only those that need to work, whilst still being able to pay their broader staff base; offering a bedrock of stability from which they can adapt their offering to work in the current circumstances. We’ve already seen many hotels and restaurants turn to a takeaway model to maintain a level of income. Whilst this is still allowed to continue, it looks like a lifeline to hospitality businesses.
Another point to note is that there was no specific mention of hotels – so, there’s still scope for hotel bookings, provided appropriate precautions are taken; again, offering a further lifeline to struggling businesses. We’ve seen from many hoteliers, that even single occupancy figures are better than none at all. And, if supplemented by takeaway income via hotel restaurants, there’s a greater chance that struggling hoteliers will survive.
All in all then, today’s briefing was a welcome one. The Chancellor has provided a more definitive instruction – we now know the businesses that need to close – whilst offering significant wage assistance, a move that should serve to allow many hospitality businesses to stay afloat for longer in what are proving to be very rough seas.Many of HOSPA’s members will be breathing a sigh of relief that wages, at least, are safe and that they can still operate on some level.”
19th March 2020
COVID-19 Emergency Appeal.
The latest government advice which discourages the public from visiting hospitality outlets has triggered an unprecedented crisis which puts many thousands of livelihoods at immediate risk. We are coordinating an industry-wide emergency appeal to support those hospitality workers impacted by widespread job losses, reduced hours, pay and even closures due to the Coronavirus.
We urgently need to build a significant fund to enable us to make a one-off award to eligible workers suddenly facing hardship.
To be effective in meeting the anticipated demand we need to secure funds before we can open the scheme for grant applicants so we urgently need the industry to mobilise. We won’t be able to help everybody who applies, but with your support we will reach as many people as the fund allows.
Please give whatever you can today and leave a note in the description that it is for the COVID19 Hospitality Fund.
19th March 2020
Prezzo restaurants close
“Today we will temporarily close our Prezzo restaurants during this COVID-19 crisis.” states Karen Jones, Executive Chairman. “We need to do this in order to protect the health of our teams, our customers and our local communities. After the Government stated last Monday that people should avoid restaurants, it was always going to be question of when, not if, we would need to close our doors for a time. Our Prezzo people will be working in their usual committed fashion to temporarily close our restaurants down in an orderly and planned manner. Those same Prezzo people are at the centre of my thinking and our planning. We appreciate the support of all stakeholders. I want us to return stronger than before and with renewed determination to deliver our mission – every customer leaving wanting to return. And return we will.”
18th March 2020
Best Western Great Britain is offering 15,000 hotel bedrooms (the figure represents over 90% of the group’s 270 hotels and is rising hourly) and over 1,000 meeting rooms to help the NHS and local authorities through the Coronavirus crisis.
The rooms are available for NHS staff, care workers, families, lower risk patients and the over 70s to help take the strain off hospital wards and allow clinicians to treat the most vulnerable patients.
Andrew Denton, Head of Hotel Services at Best Western Great Britain, said: “Since our offer to help at the weekend we have had an overwhelmingly positive response from our hotels. Local hospitals, councils and local authorities have also been in touch directly asking for help and today we are repurposing our technology and our call centre to manage the interest and the demand.
“We would love to plug our supply and support into the NHS system in a coordinated and organised manner. Every day counts now for people on the frontline of this crisis, so we want the NHS to know we are here to help.
“We would urge the wider hospitality industry to join our cause too. We are serious about helping reduce the number of deaths. 20,000 is too many. If our rooms and our support can be part of the solution that brings that figure down, then we will have done our job.”
Best Western Great Britain is a not-for-profit membership organisation of independently owned hotels. It was established in Great Britain in 1978.
18th March 2020
Carluccio’s offers 50% off to NHS workers fighting Covid-19
Restaurant group Carluccio’s has today announced that it will be supporting NHS staff on the front line of the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) with a 50% discount off food and drink in its restaurants, and to takeaway, and all products including pasta, sauces, rice, biscuits and gifts in its delis.
Mark Jones, CEO of Carluccio’s said: “We are all being hit hard by the current crisis, and our thoughts go out to the incredible NHS staff who are on the frontline, working day and night to save lives and help the vulnerable. There is no end date for this crisis and as such, we will be offering all NHS workers a 50% discount for the foreseeable future. We hope that this small gesture can bring a little comfort to our unsung heroes”.
Carluccio’s remains open and is following WHO and NHS guidance to ensure the health and safety of our team and guests during this uncertain time. Extremely stringent cleaning procedures are being implemented with hand washing at regular intervals, sanitisation of all table settings after every visit and social distancing.
18th March 2020
Ian Schrager, Hotel Guru, New York City
Yesterday evening hospitality visionary Ian Schrager sent a message to both his staff and hotel patrons via a video message that has been shared on both of his hotel brand’s PUBLIC and EDITION’s social media platforms. In a short message, Schrager poignantly outlined the current situation as it relays to both those working in the travel industry and those travellers who can no longer take flights or check into hotels.
‘I’m working from home and making sure to stay healthy, it’s a great time for reenergizing and rethinking and taking time to reconsider everything.’ Says Schrager. With the travel industry being one of the biggest hit by COVID-19, Schrager’s message came just as NYC was shuttering all F&B outlets.
‘We have been through a lot together and it will pass, things will return to normal. People are more important than businesses and we will get the business back and we will be going back and doing everything that we love to do – which is to create the best hotels in the world.’ – Says Ian Schrager
Link to full video here: https://www.instagram.com/tv/B916geTJVPV/?igshid=1rm8aarpvot8j
18th March 2020
The Design Museum
Following official advice released by Government and Public Health England on Monday 16 March 2020, the Design Museum will be temporarily closed to the public from 18 March 2020 until further notice.
Temporary exhibitions Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers and Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street, originally planned to open in April and May, will be postponed. Ticket holders will be contacted and everyone who has booked tickets from a third party is advised to contact them directly.
Tim Marlow, Chief Executive and Director of the Design Museum said:
“I would like to thank all our partners and supporters for their understanding at what is a difficult time for everyone. The whole cultural sector is responding to a rapidly developing situation, trying to implement measures that safeguard the well-being of all staff and visitors. No-one doubts the severity of what we will face in the weeks ahead but it’s clear that museums in general, and one devoted to design in particular, will have a significant role to play in the future and in spite of the need to close our landmark building temporarily, the work of the Design Museum will continue.”
The museum will monitor the situation closely in the following weeks and will wait for further advice to plan to re-open its building.
During this time the museum will use its significant online presence to continue to share the stories that communicate the impact of design on our lives. We invite everyone to join the conversation on social media @designmuseum.
About the Design Museum:
The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary architecture and design. Its work encompasses all elements of design, including fashion, product and graphic design. Since it opened its doors in 1989 the museum has displayed everything from an AK-47 to high heels designed by Christian Louboutin. It has staged over 100 exhibitions, welcomed over five million visitors and showcased the work of some of the world’s most celebrated designers and architects including Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid, Jonathan Ive, Frank Gehry, Eileen Gray and Dieter Rams. On 24 November 2016, The Design Museum relocated to Kensington, west London. Leading architect John Pawson converted the interior of the 1960s modernist building to create a new home for the Design Museum giving it three times more space in which to show a wider range of exhibitions and significantly extend its learning programmes.
18th March 2020
Firstly, thank you for your continued support and loyalty throughout this incredibly challenging and unprecedented time.
Further to the developing situation regarding COVID-19 and yesterday’s Government announcement, we have taken the difficult and sad decision to temporarily close all of our UK restaurants with effect from the close of business today. This follows the temporary government imposed closures of our restaurants in both New York and Paris.
Nevertheless, it’s a desperately sad day for us, but the health of our customers, staff and wider community will always remain what is most important.
You can stay up to date on all D&D London restaurants via our website and social media channels, or get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
We wish you good health and look forward to seeing you again soon!
Your Team at D&D London
Des Gunewardena, Chairman and CEO of D&D London commented:
“We fully understand the need to play our part in defeating the spread of Coronavirus and the safety of our staff and customers is of course of paramount importance. And we have had to similarly close our restaurants in New York and Paris. Nevertheless it is a desperately sad day for us and for other UK restaurants who also face closure. Our number one priority now is to work closely with government bodies to ensure that the welfare of our staff and their families is managed through this period of uncertainty. We hope the government steps up to the challenge.”
18th March 2020
Ally Pally has been entertaining and educating people for 140 years, but in light of the Government’s latest advice it’s the right thing to close our doors for the time being.
We hope you understand that we are in unprecedented times and our responsibility is to ensure that we operate responsibly.
We’ve been working hard to reschedule shows for later dates. We’ll be posting details, and any other important information on our website.
Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.
While the Palace is closed, some areas such as the park will remain accessible to the public. The support services we usually provide will not be available to anyone using the park during this time, so we politely ask that you use the space responsibly.
This isn’t the first time we have faced adversity, but we know it will take a lot to bounce back. As a charity, we rely on your support to keep the Park and Palace open, pay our staff and deliver you an inspiring and fun-packed programme of events. We are working non-stop on our contingency plans, but any donation makes a massive difference. Click here to show your support.
We wish you and your loved ones all the best, and look forward to welcoming you back to Ally Pally once again in the future.
17th March 2020
Instagram announcement: The Wolseley. Corbin & King has closed its restaurants from March 17th until further notice. Under the circumstances, this move was inevitable. Our priority now is to look after our staff and ensure that we remain in the best possible shape. ready to re-open as soon as possible.
17th March 2020
In light of yesterday’s Government update, which asked the public to avoid social settings, much has been made of the impact on the hospitality industry.
Here is what Jane Pendlebury, CEO of HOSPA, the Hospitality Professionals Association, has to say:
“We’re in unprecedented territory with coronavirus and we appreciate that the Government is doing its best to keep abreast of an ever-changing situation.
However, the latest advice is ambiguous, leaving many hospitality businesses in limbo. Do we re-stock and re-order in anticipation of some trade? With the risk that this expense then goes to waste? Or do we simply take the hit and close completely?
Other factors are staff related. There’s a duty of care both emotionally and financially. Staying open possibly allows us to pay staff for longer, but also exposes them to risk. What’s the right balance to strike?
It really is a no-win situation.
And while a full lockdown is an enforced closure, something that’s more likely to be covered by insurance – that’s by no means certain given the exceptional, unforeseen circumstances.
At present though, we’re not at the point where forced closures are currently deemed necessary.
Full lockdown will no doubt come; be that in the next few days, or the next few weeks. But that will come at a time when the Government deems the NHS is at maximum capacity, at which point it’s essential we fully comply.
Whilst this is an extremely tough time for hospitality businesses, we simply need to follow Government guidelines for as long as possible – however, vague or frustrating they may seem.
This is a crisis that’s affecting the full spectrum of society and we must all do our utmost to get through it as best we can.
At HOSPA, we’re available in an advisory capacity. It’s an ever-evolving landscape, and we’ll hear more as the day(s) go on as we speak to our members, so do please get in touch and we’ll both listen to your concerns, share the experience and thoughts of other properties where appropriate, and articulate those to a wider audience if needs be.”
17th March 2020
UKinbound asks for urgent and aggressive Government intervention as COVID-19 ravages tourism industry.
Leading UK travel trade association UKinbound, which represents over 400 tourism and hospitality businesses, has written to chancellor Rishi Sunak asking for aggressive and urgent Government intervention to protect the industry from the devastating effects of COVID-19.
The inbound tourism industry contributed nearly £23 billion to the UK economy in 2018, making it the UK’s 5th biggest export earner and the third largest employer.
Urgent measures needed include:
• Guidance on how businesses can apply for Business Interruption Loans as soon as possible;
• Extend rate relief to medium and large businesses, not just to SMEs;
• Corporation tax, VAT, PAYE and other tax payments should be deferred for a minimum of 12 months;
• Employees in tourism and hospitality who have been temporarily laid off, forced to take unpaid leave or put on reduced salaries should be compensated (as other European countries such as Germany, France and Denmark are doing);
• Suspend the requirement for tour operators to refund customers who cannot travel and instead issue credit notes valid for 12 months – cancellations affect the entire supply chain and other European countries are about to enforce this measure
Joss Croft, CEO of UKinbound said: “These are desperate and unprecedented times and the only way of ensuring the survival of our vital industry, that employs one in 12 people across all parts of the UK, now is with Government support. The UK’s tourism and hospitality industry simply has no revenue stream or working capital with which to sustain itself, and so we hope that the chancellor’s announcement today about further financial support for the economy will include our sector. Additionally, any support packages must be rolled out and available immediately with absolutely clear guidance; tourism businesses have days, not weeks, in which to survive.”
For more information about UKinbound visit ukinbound.org