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Hospitality – After the lockdowns

we are open

COVID-19 certainly does have a lot to answer for, doesn’t it! What a truly tragic and difficult time for so many. The hospitality industry has famously been hit especially hard, with many business owners having to make the heart-breaking decision to close their doors for the last time. But how have some hospitality businesses managed to thrive? Grit, determination, resilience and, most importantly, the ability to adapt!

I have been truly inspired by the lengths some of the local Aberdeen (where AJ Hospitality Solutions is based) businesses have gone to, to survive during the pandemic. I’m sure it is the same across the country, I have certainly read many articles about how businesses have adapted to remain afloat. I have been amazed at food venues firstly ensuring that food didn’t go to waste, that it went to a good cause like the NHS, or homeless people. With the short notice the industry was given, I hate to think about how many hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of perishable food and drink was sitting in venues on that day in March 2020, and how much was wasted!!

After the initial shock was absorbed, owners of restaurants, pubs and cafes etc. started to put their thinking caps on and coming up with ideas on how to sell their offerings without being open. Deliveries! Restaurants that would never have considered this concept in the past have made an excellent job of delivering their food ready to eat, or ready to prepare at home. Joining famous food delivery businesses or adapting their websites to include dine at home shops.

When outside dining was considered safe, many venues set up stunning outdoor spaces, not knowing if it would work, or how long they would be able to remain. As with many business ventures and changes, there is always an element of the unknown when trying something new, but an entrepreneur I used to be a manager for memorably said “You will never get in trouble with me for trying something and it not working, but you will get in trouble for not trying anything new at all!!”. That is how I see entrepreneurial spirit – the guts to make a decision and go with it, and hold your hands up if it didn’t work, but succeeding handsomely if it did. These are the people I admire, and actually a lot of the inspiration into starting AJ Hospitality Solutions as it is an opportunity to work with many like-minded entrepreneurs AND doing what we love to do!!

With the ever-changing rules and regulations these malleable businesses have transformed themselves to maximise as much as possible, even adding additional, alternative offerings to food and drink. A friend of mine that owns a restaurant even branched out during COVID and had the guts to buy a harbour town café which has been doing amazing business offering takeaway items ever since.

I understand that many businesses have not been able to adapt and grow which is unbelievably sad, but I do believe that a special shout out and WELL DONE is deserved to those entrepreneurs that rocked the lockdowns!!