‘Anticipated new era for CPU operations’ as workplace catering faces seismic change

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The ‘delivered-in’ food model could impact hotels and replace office canteens amidst a culture of fear – sparking an anticipated new era for CPU operations.

That was one of the scenarios put forward by a number of hospitality leaders during a remote industry forum exploring how the coronavirus pandemic might alter the restaurant landscape.

The forum, hosted by EP Business in Hospitality, saw participants debate the growing psychology of fear around hospitality and food, and the impact that delivered-in food models could have on the sector moving forward.

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The session was opened by City Pantry’s Founder, Tom Squires, who made a compelling case for how the delivered-in model could impact the marketplace following the outbreak of Covid-19.

His business has seen a fourfold increase in orders for deliveries to employees in their homes and he estimates that 90% of its traditional customer base has closed their offices.

With offices likely to see only 50% of employees returning until a proven vaccine is found, Mr Squires said delivered-in models could replace canteens in the workplace.

City Pantry has already started conversations with traditional caterers, with the expectation that there will be a demand for more flexible models with smaller company HQs.

Mr Squires said it was an “anticipated new era for CPU operations”.

Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP Business in Hospitality commented: “There was a common undercurrent to the discussion which noted how nervous many people were of an exit from lockdown. The UK does seem to have developed a more fearful outlook than most other countries.

“It was noted that in Denmark, there has been a jump back with many offices seeing 80% of employees back in and canteens with restaurants open. How can we change that fear factor? It was also noted that the conversations in the UK are noticeably different to those taking place in other countries.”

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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