By s1jobs

The latest round of restrictions that have thrown the hospitality sector into a new level of turmoil came at a time when most bars and restaurants were already finding it difficult to operate profitably under social distancing, with significant additional costs and a vast reduction in trade volumes.

In an effort to make up lost revenue, those who can have turned to new lines of business – namely, dine at home services. With most eateries in the Central Belt now temporarily closed, and the prospect of a continuing 10pm curfew thereafter, this looks set to become an enduring feature.

During full lockdown in the spring, high-end venues such as Finnieston’s Six by Nico – which under any other circumstances would never have contemplated such a move – began offering takeaway and dine at home options to bring in revenue and keep a small percentage of staff in work. Following last week’s considerable tightening of restrictions for a 16-day period, Home by Nico has been re-introduced.

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Even if the enhanced restrictions in Glasgow and surrounding health board areas are, as promised, just temporary, the country-wide 10pm curfew will be a continuing barrier to establishments with small floorplans. That is why restaurants such as the recently-opened Mezcal in Glasgow’s city centre remained closed for sit-in meals during the relative lull when strictures eased.

Mezcal has teamed up with delivery companies Just Eat and Deliveroo to run a takeaway service, but with the furlough scheme coming to an end at the close of this month, there are serious questions whether this will be enough for such businesses to retain staff in the long-term.

The novelty of the “at home” experience doesn’t appear to be wearing off. Part of this is the result of health fears among consumers, while others are put off by the hassle of adhering to mandatory face coverings and the ban on background music that has left establishments lacking in ambiance, making home a more attractive option.

READ MORE: Glasgow Six by Nico restaurant restarts home fine dining service amid Scotland coronavirus lockdown

The questions are: how much of a lasting effect will this have on the industry post-Covid? Once we can open our homes to visitors again, will ordering in become the preferred option to dining out?

The answers to these questions will have profound implications for hospitality staff after the worst of the pandemic is over. If restaurants become less reliant on sit-in diners, the host of staff who used to wait on them will be left looking for other employment options.