Five Things with Ajai Ammachathram
The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Hotels, resorts, restaurants and other businesses are beginning to reopen but the industry faces big challenges ahead. Ajai Ammachathram is an assistant professor in the Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. In this episode of Faculty 101 we talked to Ammachathram about what’s ahead…and what it will take to bring customers back. Show Notes: Learn more about Ajai Ammachathram ›› https://bit.ly/2Ulvqnm; learn more about the Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management program ›› https://bit.ly/2UkVTBt
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[00:00:03.533]Is closing down bars and restaurant dining rooms
[00:00:05.960]was absolutely necessary to slow the spread?
[00:00:08.870]Seemingly overnight, just last week,
[00:00:10.652]a decline was in excess of 40%.
[00:00:13.805]The Labor Department has just released another huge set
[00:00:18.080]of weekly jobless claims.
[00:00:19.730]News headlines tell the story of the hospitality industry
[00:00:23.250]during the Corona virus pandemic.
[00:00:25.860]While Americans shelter at home, hotels sit empty,
[00:00:29.060]restaurants close their doors,
[00:00:30.845]and travel screeches to a halt.
[00:00:35.800]But what happens when the pandemic subsides
[00:00:38.220]and the world gets back to business?
[00:00:42.930]That's the question we asked Ajai Ammachathram,
[00:00:45.670]an assistant professor in the Hospitality,
[00:00:47.930]Restaurant, and Tourism Management Program
[00:00:49.781]at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
[00:00:54.730]This is "Faculty 101, Five Things About the Challenges
[00:00:58.537]"Facing the Hospitality Industry."
[00:01:06.040]Ajai Ammachathram brings 20 years experience
[00:01:08.840]in the hospitality industry to the UNL classroom.
[00:01:12.060]His experience includes restaurants at the Ritz Carlton,
[00:01:16.870]food and beverage management for airlines,
[00:01:18.964](airplane engine roar)
[00:01:20.860]and a 600 bed hospital in Canada.
[00:01:25.370]We talked to Dr Ammachathram
[00:01:26.940]about what's ahead for the industry.
[00:01:30.590]Number one, recovery will be slow.
[00:01:34.120]Predominantly hospitality industry is considered
[00:01:37.290]to be something where it's,
[00:01:40.360]I wouldn't call it luxury,
[00:01:41.730]but people use it when they have the extra income,
[00:01:45.530]that disposal income, it's where they go and eat out.
[00:01:49.490]They go and stay in hotels, and you know,
[00:01:51.550]take vacation, cruise, and stuff.
[00:01:55.580]So, that has really come to a halt,
[00:01:59.060]and the recovery is where it's going to get really tricky.
[00:02:04.190]Because, again, people are...
[00:02:05.890]Most of the United States
[00:02:09.910]is hurting when it comes to paying this month's rent
[00:02:14.130]and utilities and stuff.
[00:02:16.150]So, it's gonna be really challenging
[00:02:18.324]to get those customers back.
[00:02:22.320]Number two, when the country does re-open,
[00:02:25.240]the hospitality landscape will be forever changed.
[00:02:29.030]Lot of establishments might go under.
[00:02:33.190]They might not recover at all.
[00:02:35.151]Even if the ones who will recover,
[00:02:38.200]they might start cutting hours.
[00:02:39.670]They might really try to squeeze that dollar
[00:02:42.976]as it is, the industry does not make a lot.
[00:02:45.921]The statistics is anywhere from four to six cents per dollar
[00:02:50.400]is what they make.
[00:02:52.210]So, this might really be a tough scenario
[00:02:54.760]when it comes to the squeezing the dollar,
[00:02:56.950]so that might happen more and more.
[00:02:58.770]They might not invest more in infrastructure,
[00:03:03.400]buying more new equipments,
[00:03:05.690]renovating their property, and stuff like that.
[00:03:09.030]So all those projects might come to a hold
[00:03:12.180]or be pushed back.
[00:03:15.082]Number three, the hospitality industry
[00:03:17.560]will have to work overtime to bring customers back.
[00:03:21.000]Consumer confidence is extremely low
[00:03:24.199]within the industry right now.
[00:03:27.840]Cruise, restaurants, hotels.
[00:03:31.120]So, they have to go that extra mile,
[00:03:34.230]and educate the customer or the future guest,
[00:03:38.870]saying that "We are cleaning excessively.
[00:03:41.817]"We are taking care of those hygiene practices.
[00:03:45.297]"We are enforcing food safety."
[00:03:49.190]Number four, the impact of the pandemic
[00:03:51.990]on the hospitality industry has uncovered weaknesses
[00:03:55.080]in terms of employee benefits.
[00:03:57.200]One of the main reasons
[00:03:58.400]I became a Faculty is certain issues which happens
[00:04:02.860]in this industry, the lack of benefits
[00:04:05.430]which is given to our employees,
[00:04:07.210]the lack of health care benefits.
[00:04:09.230]Living paycheck to paycheck.
[00:04:11.670]So those those issues are really brought to light
[00:04:14.880]at this point and I hope,
[00:04:16.980]I hope things get better.
[00:04:19.320]I hope there is a long term fix
[00:04:22.131]and not just a bad day.
[00:04:25.420]And number five.
[00:04:27.180]While we wait for the pandemic to run its course,
[00:04:29.790]consumers can help out.
[00:04:32.270]Please support the industry.
[00:04:34.400]It will come back.
[00:04:36.280]Your favorite restaurants needs to survive.
[00:04:38.931]And you know, please order to go take out delivery.
[00:04:44.121]Buy gift cards if you can,
[00:04:46.430]and please tip big.
[00:04:48.900]That will definitely help our employees.
[00:04:51.410]It will give good morale and boost,
[00:04:54.250]to those businesses and those employees.
[00:04:59.123]That's "Faculty 101, Five Things
[00:05:01.533]"With Dr. Ajai Ammachathram."
[00:05:05.877]"Faculty 101" is produced
[00:05:07.341]by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
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