William Drew (‘50 Best’): “At the moment, most restaurants are simply aiming to survive”

The organisation behind ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ ranking and awards has decided that its annual list will not be released this year in a ranked format https://www.gastroeconomy.com/2020/03/the-worlds-50-best-restaurants-retrasa-lista-2021/. This year, the idea is “to focus its resources on supporting, connecting and uniting the global gastronomic community. It will use its global platform and network to design and promote meaningful initiatives that will bolster the restaurant sector”. We published  William Drew’s point of view on Covid-19 effect on the restaurant industry, through a questionnaire proposed by Gastroeconomy. “This situation has prompted all restaurants to reassess their business structure, how they manage people, their relationships with suppliers and their very reason for being”, Director of Content for ‘50 Best’ says. He refers to “the ultimate new luxury” in future gastronomy.

Versión en español de esta entrevista: William Drew (‘50 Best’): “Por ahora, los restaurantes simplemente buscan sobrevivir”

Is there a ‘new reality’ coming into gastronomy industry? In which sense?

There is a new reality coming into the world as a whole, including the gastronomy sector. But none of us can predict with any great certainly what that reality will look like at this stage, only that the changes will be significant and likely permanent. All industries have to evolve and react to circumstances —and this crisis has accelerated and exaggerated that process— but there will be positive opportunities that emerge as a result. This situation has prompted all restaurants to reassess their business structure, how they manage people, their relationships with suppliers, their very reason for being, their motivation and their ethos.

How do you see the immediate future for the industry when restaurants reopen (perhaps, with less capacity, diners drop, without International foodie clients…)?

First, there will surely be a focus on local diners first, as travel – especially international travel – will be restricted for a long time. We may find a scenario of two ends of the spectrum flourishing: simple, local food that can be taken home or eaten relatively quickly at a restaurant, just as a break from being at home, on one hand; on the other hand, people may pay a premium for the luxury of a dining experience that includes a degree of social distance, unique dishes to savour more than ever, the privilege of sharing a meal with a limited number of people. This may be the ultimate new luxury – and with capacity restricted, the price of this may rise (if the market allows it). These are just possibilities, of course, and by no means firm predictions.

Which strategies could be applied by restaurants to manage the new situation?

I am hesitant to provide advice on strategies for the recovery as it is too early to see the future with any certainly whatsoever. At the moment, most restaurants are simply aiming to survive in order to be able to reopen at all. Their strategies will have to adapt and evolve depending on the ever-changing circumstances locally (first) and internationally (much further down the road), each with differing timeframes. What may be the right thing to do in six months could change in one year, of course. Flexibility is vital.

Acerca del autor



“Economista de formación y periodista de profesión, me encanta escribir y, además, comer. GASTROECONOMY nació el 30 de julio de 2011 como un pequeño proyecto personal, a los 4 meses de decidir convertirme voluntariamente en periodista ‘freelance’. Aquí escribo de lo que ocurre en el sector: cambios, novedades, estrategias, tendencias… Se trata de observar para contarlo de la forma más amena y detallada posible. La hostelería, sea un sencillo bar, una casa de comidas o un espacio de alta cocina, equivale a un relevante sector económico que se puede analizar con el mismo rigor y seriedad que cualquier otra actividad, eliminando la frivolidad que, por desgracia, sobra en los últimos tiempos en la gastronomía. A escribir aprendí y aprendo con la práctica y porque me enseñaron a hacerlo en mi casa y en el diario económico Expansión (www.expansion.com)”.

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