riverton bar and grill
The Riverton Bar and Grill

Coming out of Covid-19 on top

Below is a snapshot of the conversation around how hospitality businesses are looking to come out of Covid-19. Phil gives his insights and advice on how you can make sure you put your best foot forward.

Which part of the hospitality industry is most at risk of regaining / earning new business coming out of covid?

A question that I’ve answered a couple times over the past two months. It really depends heavily on tourists – the level of which is clearly going to be affected by the lack of interstate and international travel particularly.

I think it’s reasonable to say that those who rely on/operate with mainly large open upright drinking spaces may find reopening more challenging than other spots. This could be due to new covid-19 rules that may be introduced, or simply a new general social mindset everyone might take on once the world moves back into gear. 

Further, I think those businesses who aren’t willing to compromise and / or adapt their business model – perhaps even radically – might struggle. These businesses need to be asking questions around their product mix needing to change, what life with permanently reduced customer occupancy looks like and whether this new business model they are being made to adapt to can affordthe rent of their current place of business.


Do you think it’s possible for businesses to flourish or capitalise on this new normal? How would they do that?

Whenever there is change – in any industry – there always comes opportunities. So yes, I believe those who can successfully remodel themselves will flourish.

Sadly, this does mean there will be a number of hospitality businesses that will not reopen in the short term. This also then leaves more opportunities for those who are able to adapt quicker to take more of their market.

The quicker a business gets a handle on their operating cost and their ability to turn a profit with a new and leaner model, they can turn surviving into thriving, and potentially look at reinstalling favourable aspects of their old business model further down the track.


What is your main piece of advice to bars/clubs who will be opening up as a part of Perth’s nightlife? And how far behind do you think the bar and club scene is from the cafe and restaurant scene?

Nightclubs will likely be one of the last sectors to reopen. Nightclubs offer the least amount of social distancing control – which is often why people see the benefit of going. But how can you successfully enforce social distancing at a nightclub? While there may be ways to control this in the line for a bar, I don’t think we’ll be seeing dancefloors reopen any time soon.

I think the idea of the traditional front bar will be gone for a fair while too – which will ultimately end up affecting a lot of Perth’s tavern scene. However, taverns will still be able to function and adapt with strategic furniture spacing.

I think the new social distancing rules/mindset coming out of this opens up an opportunity for taverns to nail down dining and lounge areas – as in my opinion, an appealing drinking and eating lounge area will be the new normal.


What do you think will never be the same again across the board with hospitality venues? Do you see it affecting us forever – or is it just a new normal we need to make peace with?

Sadly, tourism will be impacted for years to come. Tourism focussed businesses will need to pivot to and cater for WA tourists – and thankfully we are in a better position than most, with all that the state has to offer for both city and regional patrons.

I think function venues will not be the same for a very long time either. As mentioned earlier, seated venues will become the new normal for a good while. If your venue can cater and profit from this new style of socially aware hospitality – in which your business primarily focuses on your dining/lounge area, then you put yourself in the best position to stay on top.

Don’t be the venue that is the last to the party in your strategic plan! Know your operating costs, know what a few different/slimmer versions of your business model looks like – and ensure that you put yourself in a position that is adaptable. 

How has Canford helped businesses deal with Covid-19 so far?

Canford has been engaging with the City of Wanneroo in providing consult to businesses in that area to transition out of the covid-19 shutdown. It has been quite a challenge helping, but not one that can’t be done. Our advice is open to anyone needing guidance on their current state of business, or if they are needing guidance on their own strategic plan when reopening post covid-19 shutdown.


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