hospo take away

Hospo Take Away

Mark Knoff-Thomas

I ambitiously said in the March issue of this magazine that time was “back to normal” – that was during lockdown 3.0. As we know, we have subsequently been through lockdown 4.0, and a few earthquakes and tsunami warnings since. A small time wobble seems to have taken place, and now here we are in the middle of Autumn. I find myself catching up with friends and realising that the previous catch up I thought we had in September 2020, was in fact 2019. So weird.

This month I want to focus on hospitality. During last lockdown (4.0 – I’m being optimistic that there won’t be another one before you get to read this…) I made the decision to click and collect, or have delivered, every lunch and dinner from a Newmarket eatery for the full 7 days. I embarked on my own personal #stayhomedontcook campaign. After one week, and 1.2kg later, it is fair to say I ate some superb food. I ate from Burger Burger, Massimo, Bird on a Wire, Nonna, Khao San, V.T. Station, HanSan, L’Atelier du Fromage, Archie’s Pizzeria, &Sushi, Bambina and sampled the deliciously sweet and addictive “fatcarons” from Daldang. Newmarket is truly blessed with some exceptionally good eateries. Many hospo businesses opted not to open for click and collect or do deliveries, and I can understand why. It’s nearly impossible to make it work financially. They buy in products, prepare food, and open up their businesses, but it really is the great unknown.

I think many operators have become gun shy after Alert Level 2 and 3 experiences last year – where they lost considerable amounts of money due to lack of trade and food going to waste. The government has not grasped this. The financial support provided does help – but it doesn’t pay the rent, utility bills, suppliers invoices etc. When I did go into the precinct to pick up food for click and collect – I was met with such enthusiasm and gratitude from the businesses, it really felt quite emotional.

As a society we take our convenient lifestyles for granted. For most of us everything is pretty accessible these days. Going out for dinner, once a special treat, is now quite a common weekly event for many people. This country boasts a highly sophisticated relationship with food, coffee and wine. These core elements are what bring us together – in our cafes, bars and restaurants. They are places people have first dates; where marriage proposals take place, as well as break ups; birthdays are shared; friends are counselled; laughter and tears abound; work colleagues are welcomed and farewelled; lasting life-long memories are created… our hospitality sector is at the very core of our community. We should celebrate them all and support them in every way we can.

In danger of sounding like a broken record, you know the drill… keep shopping, eating and drinking local. Imagine life without our hospitality sector? Soulless.

See you here soon,

Mark Knoff-Thomas
CEO, Newmarket Business Association

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