End of Year Review | 2020

End of Year Review | 2020

Jack Dale. Managing Director.

 

If I had been told back in 2019 that, next year, a deadly virus would sweep the planet, killing thousands, putting thousands more out of work, crippling businesses and we'd all be walking around wearing face masks, I'd probably have thought they were mad. What an unprecedented and difficult year it has been for not only the hospitality industry, but for industries across the World.

 

In March, our Prime Minister announced a National lockdown and overnight, we lost a long list of upcoming bookings from our calendar. To put that into perspective, based on the average number of guests for each event, you could fill Manchester Palace Theatre five times over, with the same number of people. It was a devastating blow for our growing business. Luckily, we were in a stable financial position and able to refund all of customers in full whilst also keeping the business "open", if only by name and little else. We had no idea how long this would last.

Prior to the coronavirus we averaged a private booking enquiry every twelve hours and a booking every thirty six hours. Some for dates a matter of days away, others for months down the line. But following the prime ministers speech, the phone stopped ringing, overnight. Our website traffic fell by 80% with most page hits for coronavirus help, relating to customers seeking refunds, looking to postpone their events and other advice.

I can tell you first hand, that to watch everything you have worked hard to build for five years, disappear overnight, is heartbreaking and terrifying.

 

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We were incredibly lucky, unlike many, to be offered a fantastic opportunity to move into the contract catering side of the industry.

We are already working hard to tender contracts across the North West and take our current opportunities as a stepping stone to other exciting avenues for business growth, whilst maintaining the high level of service and quality for all of our current clients. It is a marathon, not a sprint and although we aren't a brand new company and haven't only just begun, the starting pistol is still hot, so to speak.

 

A particular special thank you to Bernadette Carden, Anthony Hill, Andy Milligan, Alex Dale, Jessica Bailey, Jennifer O'Callaghan for their support and 

 

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Jack Dale | Managing Director

HP Catering Ltd