Service provision and equipment maintenance are poised to take on added significance when the industry emerges from the coronavirus crisis if foodservice operators tighten their belts as expected.
That was one of the possible scenarios to emerge from an online ‘Market Talk’ discussion hosted by FEJ and its sister title Catering Insight this week.
Meiko UK MD Paul Anderson and Vision Commercial Kitchens MD Jack Sharkey were invited to discuss their views on the industry and both painted a picture of a market where short-term equipment priorities are likely to change in the coming months.
“As we come out of this Covid-19 crisis, people are going to be looking at service, they are going to need to get more out of their asset than they ever have before so I think capital replacement is going to be under pressure and capital expenditure is going to be under pressure,” said Mr Sharkey.
“People are going to want to get more out of their equipment; they are going to need to get more out of their asset. We are almost going to go back to the austerity days of 2010, 2011 and 2012, where we are going to have to get the maximum use out of that equipment before we get into a capital replacement.”
Mr Anderson agreed, noting that there was likely to be a greater emphasis on making existing equipment last.
“People are going to be looking at their available cash and Capex and Opex very closely when we come out of this and they are going to want to repair things and keep things going for a lot longer, so service is very much key.
“At the moment we are also trying to help people as well by trying to look after equipment when it is actually shut down. Whenever we decide to be open again in this industry, there are going to be calls saying ‘this dishwasher smells horrible’ – well, it’s probably because you haven’t drained it down and it’s full of stagnant water for about six weeks. We will be dealing with every type of scenario.
“But it is key to have great service and support to prolong a piece of equipment and I think Jack’s absolutely right – I don’t think there will be a normal that we have had before, it will be a new normal.”
The full episode of ‘Market Talk’ can be viewed below.