The economic situation has long been weighing heavily on the Lebanese hospitality sector, especially after the Beirut explosion. Things took a turn for the worse with the Covid-19 lockdown.
Tony Ramy, president of the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Night-Clubs and Pastries in Lebanon, carries the weight of the restaurant industry on his shoulders as he tries to entangle the web of problems that it finds itself caught in. In this exclusive interview, Ramy discusses the unprecedented challenges and the possibility of recovery.
Ramy said that even though the tourism industry generated USD 80 billion within ten years, the government did not lead any initiative towards supporting it.
From changing customers’ behavior to new strategies that will help businesses pivot and thrive, COVID-19 is changing the F&B scenery in the region.
Out of 9,500 restaurant outlets in the market, 10 percent will resume their operations next week with just 30 percent of their capacity.
According to Ramy, at this stage, it is absolutely imperative for the government to provide alternatives as liquidity shortage is known for a fact.
The total number of laid off employees in the sector exceeded 25,000. Many of those who are still employed are on a part time basis or on half salaries, due to low sales figures.
Exceeding guests’ expectations is all too familiar to hospitality professionals and is something we strive to do on a daily basis, but what if the tables were turned? As the year winds down, we thought it would be an interesting idea to present the wishes and expectations of our dear friends in the industry, with the intention of gauging their reactions and finding out if 2020 will exceed their own expectations.