Travel caterer SSP Group has laid out details of how it intends to get its business moving again as it enters the recovery phase.
The company, which runs food and beverage concessions in 180 airports and 300 rail stations, has seen its business deteriorate since lockdowns were introduced around the world, wiping up to £150m off its first half sales to the end of March.
At the end of April, just 10% of its 2,800 units continued to trade across the group as the firm “hibernated” the business as it sought to protect staff and reduce costs.
But the firm is confident that it is “well-placed” to recover due to its global presence across food, beverage and retail in multiple formats.
Outlining how it intends to emerge from the crisis, it said: “Our first priority continues to be the health and safety of our colleagues and customers. Key to that is confidence building and we are doing that by implementing new hygiene and safety protocols and new operational and social distancing measures.
“Staff are being trained to deal with the new environment, and our visual signage clearly sets out the safety measures we have in place.”
The company said its approach to re-opening units would be “systematic”, enabling it to deliver the brands and the offer that customers want to eat and drink in the way they want to be served.
“Importantly, we will look to open units selectively in the larger multi-unit locations, which characterise the majority of our business, and therefore ensure that we can operate profitably even at lower levels of footfall.
“We expect that during the re-opening phase profitability will be further supported by the removal of minimum annual guarantees and concession fee reductions, as well as simplifying our operations and agreeing lower franchise fees with our brand partners.”
The £2 billion-a-year company added that it is also focused on simplifying the structures and processes within its business and reducing discretionary spend.
“We will continue to invest in technology where that will further simplify our processes and support our efficiency plans. Importantly, we will continue to engage closely with our teams, keeping them fully informed, and we will continue to support the communities in which we operate.”