Operators are chomping at the bit to get their doors open again on 4 July – but members of the catering equipment sector are not anticipating it to bring a significant boost in kitchen spend.
During yesterday’s ‘Ready for Reinvention’ webinar, hosted by design and specification platform Specifi, attendees were invited to take part in a quick poll on imminent equipment purchasing expectations.
Asked what they felt end-users are most likely to do in the short-term, an overwhelming 80% of respondents said operators would ‘make do and mend’.
12% of those polled said they thought end-users would be motivated to ‘invest in new equipment early to get the best price’, while the remainder indicated users would ‘invest in second-hand equipment market’.
Although it was purely an anecdotal poll to gauge sentiment, it reinforces a growing view within the industry that operators could seek to ‘sweat their assets’ and get the most out of their existing kitchen infrastructure until the economic picture is clearer.
This could provide a boost to the service and spare parts industry if operators favour extending the life of existing equipment rather than buying new, however. In times of austerity, it is well-known that the spares and repair industry often benefits.
Specifi’s webinar addressed a number of key issues around the changing hospitality landscape, with guests including Vision Commercial Kitchens’ Jack Sharkey, Rational’s Graham Kille and True Refrigeration Scott Jones.
Keith Warren, chief executive of the Foodservice Equipment Association, kicked off the event by exclusively revealing the results of research carried out among its members.
30 major suppliers and service companies took part in its ‘State of the Market’ survey about the ramifications of Covid-19 on the catering equipment supply chain.
More than a third of respondents said they were currently trading at 20% of pre-Covid levels, while a further 30% said that sales were 30% of what they were before the virus struck.
Asked what percentage of pre-Covid sales, manufacturers expect to achieve in six months time, the majority of respondents (37%) said 50%.
Just over a quarter of respondents, meanwhile, were more optimistic, projecting that sales would be more like 70% of what they were before Covid when December comes around.
Meanwhile, more than 30% of suppliers revealed they had furloughed 80% of their staff, while more than 45% had furloughed between 50% and 70% of their workforces.