- Tourism & hospitality is big business in New Zealand and ranks second among the biggest export earners contributing over 17% of the total export revenue.
- Although tourism is presently banned due to COVID-19 restrictions, the government, by 2023, has plans to increase the tourism expenses to NZ$15.3 billion.
- Post the pandemic, the top priorities of the restaurant business would be to maintain hygiene, provide contactless service, implementation of techniques to track any infected patients in the premises and many more.
- New Zealand government has issued safety guidelines for the industry which can be seen once the situation improves, and businesses are up and running.
When you are in New Zealand and crave for some exciting food to eat, you have a range of options available. The specialities include seafood, roast lamb, M?ori h?ng?, fish and chips, cheese and wine, barbeque, a classic Kiwi pavlova with strawberries and kiwifruit, sweets, and candies. A preferred tourist destination, the island nation thrives on tourism business tourists visiting round the year.
However, the lockdown due to the pandemic temporarily brought a halt in the restaurant and food business. Despite the economy being functional, international travel is restricted due to the fear of the second wave of infections. This will continue to affect the restaurant business which sees a significant chunk of revenue coming from international travellers.
The tourism & hospitality sector is big business in New Zealand and is presently the second-largest export earner and provides approximately 17.1% of total export revenues. Undoubtedly, New Zealand is known for its magnificent scenery with far more accessible air travel, overseas visitors by December 2019 was over 500k.
In a report released by the New Zealand government, it was highlighted that overseas visitors had doubled every decade since 1970.
Visitors coming from these diverse nations have their own characteristics and to meet their demand, the industry must require to be on toes and work at international standards.
As per the New Zealand government, tourism spending would be increasing to NZ$15.3 billion by 2023 and the number of visitors by 39%. In present times, travelling to New Zealand is prohibited. Only residents and citizens are permitted to enter the country. Travellers from other countries cannot enter New Zealand unless any specific grounds for exemptions.
COVID-19 cases in New Zealand:
In the last 24 hours, there were no cases of COVID-19 in the country. However, there are still 23 active cases in the country.
In the present scenario, there is still uncertainty regarding the duration of COVID-19 across the globe and the border restrictions followed by various countries. But one thing is certain that the situation would come to an end and will bring a drastic change in the post-COVID-19 era.
Let us look at the restaurant business and see what changes we might see, and business would follow once the pandemic ends.
What to Expect Post COVID-19 Pandemic?
With the increase in the COVID-19 awareness amongst people, the businesses in the food and restaurant industry would have to re-think and restructure their strategies followed in the pre-COVID-19 era. Some of them could be:
Understanding the severity of the COVID-19 virus, contactless services in the restaurant would become the new normal. Touch-free menus, delivery and pickups are some of the changes which might become common amongst every individual.
Whether an individual has to collect the food from the restaurant, or dining at a restaurant in with distant tables, people would be refrained from touching the physical menu which earlier use to pass through multiple people.
An alternate way to avoid the fear of getting infected via physical contact could be made possible through QR codes. It is made possible by uploading the menu by the restaurants in the pdf format and then convert it into a contactless menu.
Further improvement in Hygiene:
Post the COVID-19 era, when the frequency of the people visiting the places increases, the level hygiene practices followed by the business will play a critical role in this industry. These businesses have to scale themselves up at every level.
The COVID-19 pandemic has set a new benchmark in terms of hygiene as mentioned above along the food taste to gain the customers' confidence back.
Implementation of techniques to detect any person with COVID-19 infection:
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, most people prefer to prepare a safe meal at home. People who enjoyed a meal at restaurants now have a particular fear in the mind of getting infected in public places like restaurants and café. Hence, it would be essential for the restaurant business to implement technology that screen every individual entering the premises and detect any person that carries COVID-19 infection. This would provide the customer confidence that the person sitting next to does not bring any virus.
One of such technologies could be a thermal screener.
As more and more people have switched from cash payment to the cashless transaction, there is a high probability that after COVID-19, the concept of making a transaction via cash would almost become extinct.
Things Followed After the Reopening of Food Businesses Following COVID-19 Lockdown
Safety Guidance to be followed by food handlers and food businesses in New Zealand:
- In a recent release by the New Zealand government, the restaurants or food businesses which are reopening after the COVID-19 lockdown are advised to follow specific instructions to ensure that food is safe for the customers. The government has formed methods to meet the requirements so that these businesses can run under Alert Level 1. To operate at Alert Level 1, companies are expected to enable good hygiene practices for their workers. They can also offer sanitiser to the customers.
- In Alert 1, the businesses are not expected to follow physical distancing between workers or between workers and groups of customers or clients, restrict gathering size, or keep contact tracing records. Instead, the government ask these businesses to help workers and customers or clients to maintain their contact tracing records by showing the Ministry of Health’s NZ COVID Tracer QR code when they enter the premises.
Changes to the Food Act Business:
- Businesses need to check their existing Food Control Plan or National Programme to check if they have the required food cards for the change of scope.
- It is vital to download appropriate cards for change of scope & should be attached by the businesses to their plan or programme.
- Registration Authority to be communicated via phone or email regarding the addition of operations to the scope.
- Reopening a Food Business Checklist is required to be filled.
- Businesses should follow additional requirements within a business operation.
- Lastly, when the COVID-19 restrictions get lifted completely, the companies have to formally advise MPI Approvals if they wish to continue with additional or changed operations.
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