Image: Famed Bali restaurant, Ultimo in Seminyak. Credit: The Beat Bali.
As has been reported, the government officially extended the enforcement of restrictions on Micro Scale Community Activities (PPKM) from February 9 to February 22, 2021 through Java and Bali. This step was taken because the PPKM that was already in effect was considered to have limited effect on Covid infection numbers.
However, the policy continues to hit several industries, and especially restaurant businesses around the country and on this island. In fact, according to the Chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHR), Sustrisno Iwantono, throughout 2020 as many as 1,033 restaurants in Indonesia were officially permanently closed. While domestic tourism has been curtailed nationally with obvious ramifications, Bali restaurants have been hanging on by a thread with the local market, which has been strained again by the latest round of restrictions.
Even though the present PPKM offers a slight change related to the operating hours of malls and restaurants, allowed to open until 9pm from the previous 8pm, plus the increase of maximum capacity to 50 percent from 25 percent, this policy is still being felt very hard by F&B businesses.
The financial analyst institute, Grant Thornton, has been evaluating the development of the F&B industry in relation to conditions and trends that developed in general before and during the pandemic. “This analysis is expected to provide a new perspective on restaurant and F&B businesses in Indonesia to determine business strategies to anticipate if the Java-Bali PPKM continues to be applied,” said CEO / Managing Partner of Grant Thornton Indonesia Johanna Gani, Wednesday (10/2) .
He said that before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, the restaurant industry had actually already faced various challenges. These included the increase in the mandatory minimum wage to the instability of raw material prices in the market, which of course affect the company’s operating expenses.
Changes in consumer behavior with the presence of various online delivery platforms also presented challenges for business actors who have been relying on dine-in customers. If the adaptation was not carried out quickly and precisely, he said, it is not unimaginable that a business that has been existing for so very long cannot last.
“The impact of Covid-19 has indeed increased the challenges the restaurant industry had faced before the pandemic. However, if business actors can implement the right strategy they will be able to get through this pandemic well,” said Johanna.
He said, the earlier a business owner can identify the outlets with the best performance, the safer it will be. “We always say this to our clients regardless of what retail business they have, be it restaurant or non-restaurant. For this reason, regular reviews are needed on the need for cash and analysis of the revenue and gross profit that can be generated from each outlet, so that business actors can make the right and fast decisions to survive in this pandemic situation,” said Johanna.
He explained that the rapid advancement of technology could help run the restaurant business during this pandemic by doing everything without direct contact. So restaurateurs need to take advantage of various technologies in their daily operations, not turn their back on them.
According to him, digital menus are one of the obligations, now that visitors only need to scan the QR-code to access the food and dishes they want to choose, so that the risk of contact with physical menus can be minimized. Cashless payments are also another option to reduce contact, with not only bank cards but also wallet and QR code based transactions.
He also estimates that high orders through delivery services supported by easy access through online delivery platforms are also expected to grow significantly throughout the year.
“That’s because it allows customers to consume their meals without having to interact directly in the restaurant with many people. The rise of promos and the added feature of taking their own food orders at restaurants (self pick-up) is also a factor in the high consumption of food through online platforms. delivery,” he said.