Foodservice Sneak Peek – Ed’s Perspective: Time for the Headless Chicken

Well, from the big chicken-run restaurant chains to all the people I recently spoke to in the UK foodservice supply chain saying they’re in a rush, I’d like to call this time ‘time to headless chicken ”.

In some ways, dealers and manufacturers have never looked better, with orders pouring in from operators eager to meet pent-up consumer demand from the lockdown, or keen to transform their offerings to keep pace with the changes brought on by the pandemic. .

But conversely, the supply chain cracks under the pressure. The shortage of truck drivers means deliveries are scarce, staff shortages are present in most industries, and insufficient component availability has crippled suppliers, including Rational, which shocked dealers when it came to them. recently informed that no new order for combi ovens could be fulfilled for the remainder of the year. And as the Germany-based company cited the first quarter of 2022 as the next guaranteed delivery available, that could mean anything until the end of March.

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It is by no means the only company trying to navigate its way through supply chain issues, and as a result, lead times for commercial kitchen projects have skyrocketed. You must feel sorry for the operators who are trying to set up a foodservice program at the moment – some dealerships are so overloaded that they don’t take new orders for months, others are trying to find suppliers. alternatives, and even more are trying to strengthen their workforce to enable them to complete projects within a reasonable timeframe.

If we think back to that time last year, when layoffs were plentiful, revenues and profits took a hit, and many wondered if their businesses would survive, then today’s issues would seem to be. heaven. But the stress that many people in the industry go through just trying to get back to something that is close to normal cannot be underestimated.

Consistently long working hours with an “all hands to the pumps” mentality are not sustainable, and will inevitably lead to burnout. The “headless chicken time” is relatively manageable if it is for a short period of time, but it cannot go on indefinitely.

Since it is so difficult to determine if these issues are caused by Brexit or Covid, it is impossible to say if they will fade or subside over time, or if this is the new baseline. . Think about what this would mean for your business: do you need to store more? Should you specify only local UK brands to minimize disruption? And how fully British are these brands’ supply chains anyway?

These are the questions that UK catering equipment makers need to be asking themselves right now, and I don’t envy them. I would only like to stress that it is vital to allow time for downtime, and if a complete restructuring is the only way to enable the entire workforce of a company to ‘have that, then maybe it’s time to consider some big trouble.

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