Blog #coronavirus


Office catering Birmingham Blog, with information for all your catering needs from Trenchers, including information on sustainability, allergens, portions, hygiene inspections.

17Sep

How has the coronavirus crisis affected Trenchers and the wider economy due to the lack of people working in offices at the moment.

Trenchers have been a company in Birmingham in one guise or another (O'Briens Irish sandwich bars) for 20 years, and i can honestly say we have had many ups and downs.

With the crash of 2008, where we lost half our business literally overnight, to 2018, where we had our busiest year on record, the rollercoaster just keeps sending us wave after wave of real highs and lows.

However, today im sat at my office computer on a Thursday morning in September, wondering where do we go from here?

We have gone from serving upto 500 people and upto 40 corporate customers a day to 12 people today, and let me tell you today is a good day. I have tried so hard to keep motivated, and to come in and go through the usual marketing strategies, i have been in constant communication with as many customers as i can via mail and calls where possible, and going round the as many offices as possible just to see who is in and what can we be doing to serve them.........


There are very few people in the offices at the moment. It has been over six months after the coronavirus and subsequent lockdown, every other part of the economy has been back doing their work, in the way they have been in the past, the roads are busy with people going about their business. However, the one place this has not happened is in the expensive offices, and this is not just a Birmingham thing, the City of London is quite, Manchester offices too.


With the lack of office workers, means no work for the economy that relies on them for their business, not just Trenchers, but look at what is happening in the city around them, Costa, Empty, Pret empty and losing staff all the time, New street station, desolate, and there is the supply chain that follows on behind that economy.

Think about it, we serve an office, but we have suppliers to, The wholesale markets for instance, they were really struggling before the coronavirus struck, now its a ghost town down there.

And how about the printers who supply menus, stationary ect, and the uniform suppliers, They and we are on our knees at the moment and with another lockdown looking very likely, where do we go from here?

I heard a really good quote that i will use here ' it feels like we are just moving deck chairs around on the Titanic'.

What happens to all the expensive office space if most of the workers are doing their jobs from home? There is always construction of new and more and more fancy office space filling the skyline of Birmingham city centre, but what is the point if the workers are going to be encouraged to work from home for a more permanent basis?

What is the point of HS2 if there is no need to get to London in an hour?

The other question i think the office workers, working from home (I know that it is not office workers fault for being asked to work from home) should ask themselves is if i can do this from home, then someone in a different part of the world can do the same and for a lot cheaper wage they me, then at what point does that happen? maybe not this week, or even this year, but it makes perfect sense, companies up and down the land will be leaving our city centres a wasteland of empty office blocks and sending jobs across the globe just to make the shareholders a good profit.


Trenchers has been struggling and i can't see a way out happening anytime soon. I know many businesses have gone bust, and with the reality of life at the moment many people have been made redundant. I really don't want us to follow in the vain, however something has to change and it has to come from the top.

Government needs to be more assertive and force companies to take there staff back to the office, i have been around most of the offices in the city over the past few months, and can attest i have not seen a single instance of a building not having really stringent covid secure measures in place, so why no staff busily working in them? I don't have that answer.


For the sake of Trenchers and the economy serving the offices, i can only implore bosses at these companies to get there staff back and the government to push harder to making this happen.

Thank you to all our customers for the support over the last few months, it truly is a pleasure to serve you.


Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts.


Robert Kincaid


Trenchers catering Director.


 



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13Mar

Coronavirus update from BSA.

We Have received a helpful guide for small  business and clients alike from The British sandwich association...

  • A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses with a turnover of no more than £41m to apply for a loan of up to £1.2m, with the Government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. This will unlock up to £1 billion pounds to protect and support small businesses. 

 

  • For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the Government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2bn to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.
  • A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree abespoke Time to Pay arrangement

 

  • There will be a £3,000 cash grant to 700,000 of our smallest businesses, delivered by Local Authorities, and worth a total of £2bn.
  • Finally, the Government is temporarily increasing the Business Rates retail discount in England to 100% for 2020-21 for properties below £51,000 rateable value. Nearly half of all business properties will not pay a penny of business rates.

 

  •  
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  • The impacts across supply, demand and labour markets
  • Actions being taken by firms to address these impacts
  • Any gaps in the Government response from your perspective

 

Please send this information to intel@beis.gov.uk.  We understand that individual company information may be commercially sensitive, and it will be treated accordingly. 

 

 Scotland

The Scottish Government has announced a ban mass gatherings of over 500 people to free up emergency staff but there are currently no similar plans in the rest of the UK.

 

A new helpline has been launched to supply Scottish businesses with tailored advice on coronavirus.


It will be open Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 17:30, based at Scottish Enterprise's call centre in Clydebank.


Call handlers will answer questions from businesses related to Covid-19 as well as relaying the challenges faced by businesses to the Scottish government.


The helpline number is 0300 303 0660.

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