Restaurant Association Media Releases
Hospitality businesses in Auckland finally opened their doors this weekend after more than three months of level three operating restrictions.
But the move to the new traffic light framework wasn’t smooth sailing for 72 per cent of operators who reported challenges putting in place.
“Whilst 27 per cent of our members reported a smooth transition, unfortunately two thirds of businesses experienced issues in rolling out the new operation guidelines” says Marisa Bidois, CEO of the Restaurant Association
Forty per cent of respondents experienced issues with rude or aggressive customers whilst 45 per cent reported customers not understanding the new regulations.
One fifth said they experienced issues with operating the new technology.
“Our Auckland based businesses are glad that they are finally able to start on premise dining but the challenges are really disappointing to hear about” says Bidois.
“We’re confident that as diners and hospitality workers become more used to the pass, these will iron out as we all become more familiar with the system.”
Restaurant Association responds to Auckland Reactivation budget
The Auckland hospitality industry will be left wanting this summer as they are excluded from the government’s Auckland summer reactivation budget.
“We are absolutely crushed for our Auckland businesses that have been closed for months on end and are left with nothing in this package.
“They may as well just call the campaign ‘explore Tāmaki Makaurau minus hospitality’ this summer.
“For 475 days we have been calling for targeted support, yet every call has fallen on deaf ears.
“In September this year we released a suite of targeted support package options for the Government to consider.
“Included in this was Dine & Discover NZ, a voucher scheme which is eerily similar to today’s announcement.
“In preparing our proposals on international voucher schemes we have conducted research in the UK and Australia and the feedback from the hospitality community has been overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s about increasing demand and building the confidence with consumers, and we feel strongly that including hospitality in this scheme would absolutely do that.
“It’s nice of the Government to offer this present on the 1st day of December, yet the ones who proposed it are not unwrapping the gift.
“It is another kick in the guts for morale for this industry that has been brought to its knees.
“I think it’s fair to say that we’ve had more support from the public through this pandemic than the government and we are deeply grateful for the public support we have received as an industry.
“Annually this industry contributes more than $12 billion to the economy and yet this Government seems determined to watch us crumble from afar.
“During the announcement, it was said ‘businesses need new customers’, hospitality businesses don’t need new customers – they need customers full stop.”
“After months of closure, a set date for the reopening of hospitality in Auckland is welcome and long overdue” says Marisa Bidois, CEO of the Restaurant Association.
“This will allow our businesses to start their planning for the short period of time they will be able to open before Aucklanders leave the city over the Christmas break. However, it is difficult to fathom that this it is still eleven days away.
“There is a lot to do including implementing the process for managing vaccination passports for our industry. The entire industry, but particularly Auckland is going to need support to manage the transition and we look forward to hearing more from the Government on how it plans to do this.”
The Restaurant Association is frustrated at the lack of clarity and information being provided on the policy side of the roll out of the vaccine passports.
“Our industry has once again been left with more questions than answers,” says Marisa Bidois, CEO of the Restaurant Association.
“The prime minister said today that the industry is familiar with checking age related identification. However, this is something that would only happen in some of our business, many are not licensed.
“There is also no information on whether businesses are required to have a person on the door admitting people or turning them away.
“Also, whether passports will be required for takeaway or sitting outside.
“These businesses have been given little to no information on the practical application of the passports at a time when our customers have so many questions and will likely be using them soon.
“Information has not been forthcoming, and priority is not being given to those sectors who are most impacted in terms of managing the passports.
“Whilst we have some information about the technology there is still no policy that sits alongside this.
“Our business need time to implement the new systems and Auckland businesses desperately want to open it would be great for them to be able work these systems out before the Christmas rush.”
Issued by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand:
There is disappointment again for the hospitality industry with no planned date to move to level 3.3, the level at which hospitality is able to operate.
“What we have is yet another short-term plan with no certainty around when our businesses can plan to reopen,” said Marisa Bidois, CEO of the Restaurant Association.
“All we are asking for is a specific date around which our business can start planning, but once again we are left wanting.
“Our industry has been left behind in the three-step process and while retail is opening and outdoor gatherings can increase in size, hospitality remains closed.”
“We have requested an opening of hospitality for outdoor dining at level 3.2 but are yet to receive a response to this suggestion.
“It doesn’t make much sense to business owners to see people picnicking in groups of 25 whilst smaller groups are unable to make use of outdoor dining areas in our venues.”
“We implore the Government at this stage to give us a set date to work to. This will allow our businesses to plan with some certainty.”
Issued by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand:
Vaccination mandates for workers in the hospitality industry will present challenges, but are welcomed, says the Restaurant Association.
“This is a tricky new area of employment law, and so ensuring that businesses owners are legally empowered to enforce vaccinations in workplaces is a positive step towards ensuring safe and healthy workplaces,” said Marisa Bidois CEO of the Restaurant Association.
In a September survey of its members, 40 per cent of respondents indicated that they would be willing to put a vaccination policy in their workplaces whilst 25 per cent were unsure.
“In our discussions with members, feedback has shown some concerns around enforcing a policy that could make employers liable for discrimination on the basis of vaccination status.
“Whilst mandating a policy is a welcome step towards helping to keep businesses safe and operational, there is still an ongoing concern around losing valued employees to the mandate.
“We need to remember that our industry is still suffering a skills shortage and so rolling this out is going to have to be carefully managed to reduce the risk of losing a percentage of our workforce.”
The Restaurant Association is getting behind a campaign launched by some of Wellington’s most popular restaurants and bars to raise awareness around Covid-19 vaccination rates and encourage staff and customers to get their jabs. The ‘Take 2 for the team’ campaign is the brainchild of Kāpura’s chief executive Jamie Williams who is offering staff an hour of paid time while they got their jab and food vouchers, with each place getting $500 to spend on a team activity once they were 90 per cent vaccinated. Williams said while the hospitality industry did expect restrictions for a period of time, such as limited indoor gathering numbers, he had started thinking about other ways the hospitality industry could help combat the impacts of Covid-19. And what immediately came to mind was getting the vaccination rate up. Williams, together with the Restaurant Association is also working with DHB’s across the country to secure free branded t-shirts, caps and posters for hospitality businesses.
“The full reopening of our industry, is our number one focus right now,” said Restaurant Association CEO Marisa Bidois.
“We also want to ensure that Kiwis do feel safe when they dine out and what better way to do that that with a creative campaign aimed at increasing the update of vaccinations.
“Jamie and his team have pulled this together in the inimitable hospo style – fun, creative and just a bit tongue in cheek.
“We’re pretty confident that hospo businesses and diners alike will respond to the message – take two for the team of 130,000, which is the number of people working across our industry in Aotearoa.”
Posters, social media tiles and t-shirt designs are available to download from the Restaurant Association website https://www.restaurantnz.co.nz/take2fortheteam/
The removal of gathering numbers outside of Auckland is welcome however, our largest city is hurting, says the Restaurant Association.
“Auckland is hurting. Hospitality is hurting.
“The Auckland hospitality industry has time and again been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and it is time that our Government recognised this by providing financial relief that is specific and targeted to our sector
“Two weeks ago, we laid out an eight point plan as part of our Future of Hospitality Roadmap to help our sector to reopen and recover but we remain wanting.
“Whilst business owners are in the main supportive of the elimination strategy they do not support the blind eye that has been turned to their financial plight.
“Wage subsidy and resurgence support payments are not enough – our businesses are on the brink and something more must be done.
“Hospitality businesses continue to experience a disproportionate material impact on revenue as a direct result from the Alert Level guidelines.
The Restaurant Association’s new Future of Hospitality Roadmap has been designed to help businesses get back on their feet, by focusing on reopening, recovery and sustainability.
Auckland business groups, representing tens of thousands of businesses, want Government to act on their calls to confirm financial support for Auckland during level 2 for qualifying businesses:
RESURGENCE PAYMENT WEEKLY
The ‘pathway for Auckland’ announced today did not confirm this. Businesses need certainty and can’t keep waiting to hear what help might be made available at the next announcement. The mechanism exists and is simple to execute – it just needs a government decision to do it.
Why is this critical?
Auckland has faced 29 weeks of restrictions so far:
10 weeks at L4
8.5 weeks at L3
3.5 weeks at L2.5
7 weeks at L2
These effects are cumulative and the long tail of COVID-19 is hurting many businesses across a range of sectors. Thousands of business owners, their staff and suppliers face an uncertain future as they head into the Christmas season.
Who is asking for this?
Auckland Business Chamber
Employers and Manufacturers Association
Hospitality New Zealand
Accommodation Association of New Zealand
Heart of the City
Newmarket Business Association
Parnell Business Association
Takapuna Business Association
The organisations listed are united with one voice – Auckland businesses need help urgently and they need certainty. by focusing on reopening, recovery and sustainability.
The Restaurant Association is the link between good food, and good business. It supports New Zealand’s diverse and creative hospitality businesses to deliver first class experiences to diners. Since its humble beginnings in 1972, it has worked to offer advice, help and assistance in every facet of the vibrant and diverse hospitality industry. The organisation now represents, advocates and cheerleads for more than 2500 hospitality businesses within New Zealand. It offers 24/7 advice and assistance on key industry issues, from property lease advice to wellness in the workplace. The Association also provides its members with industry-wide accreditation programs which set best practice standards and help them measure how they’re tracking. It also works in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development to deliver the Hospostart and Springboard training programmes.