Patience for Tomorrow's World

by Martin Boyd

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For those of a certain age, the phrase ‘Tomorrow’s World’ may conjure up a 1970s TV programme, showcasing the next ‘new thing’: Electric cars, Mobile Phones, Compact Discs, touchscreens, HD (but it wasn’t really) TV and lots more were placed before our wide just had to be patient!

And what about patience in 2021? It seems as if the public together as one are patiently waiting for the ‘next thing’ - something better is coming - isn’t it? It’s the sense of something almost having passed and a new horizon appearing. Already there is an excitement building in anticipation of meeting with people again - and eating with people again!

If you want an indication of the general feeling of positivity around at the moment, a UK poll found people approving of the latest budget...and the chancellor actually got very high approval rates! Makes you wonder if the government has maybe slipped something else into the vaccine just to give people a wee lift!!

Is there room for excitement even in the battle weary F&B sector? We think so. We have been so encouraged to talk with key stakeholders in catering businesses who recognise that there will be a surge - even if from a low starting point - in the need for catering. (Of course, we aren’t unaware of the pain that there has been and may yet be. A study, by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) found one in 20 low-paid workers had lost their job in each quarter since the pandemic struck. Since we know from the research that this was driven by higher rates of low pay in ‘shut down sectors’ it seems as if the F&B sector have felt the pain more than most.)

However, the essence of patience is not the enduring and the fortitude. It is not so much being released from the ills of the present - but the anticipation of the good to come.

‘Planning today to get ready for tomorrow’ is a phrase which is in my head a lot these days. We have spoken often of those businesses who (although, clearly they were not looking for their business to come to an abrupt halt) took this as an opportunity to examine how they could manage their business more effectively using digital solutions.

However, the reality is we are patiently waiting for something which will look a bit different than before. Many of the sites where we are implementing Spoonfed’s software are operations not planning on just doing better than what they were doing before. No, there are new ventures, and new opportunities as, in many places, the circumstances have changed fundamentally.

Tomorrow’s world?: Re-staffing your catering teams. Workplaces/head offices decreased in size. Flexible working practices. Increased individualism in catering requirements. Higher expectations for information around content. Reliance on digital solutions for catering efficiency and quality customer experience.

All these things and more, require us to start planning today if we are going to be successful in tomorrow’s world.

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