“I think as an industry we’ve been hugely undervalued, and have been seen as quite a low-skilled industry. We haven’t been seen as a sexy industry like high tech. […] but if you look at diversity, gender, geography, Our industry touches every part of Britain.”
Several key policy decisions, including the VAT rate, business rates and rent deals were also discussed. One of the major sticking points is how hospitality will reopen, whether that will be in tiers, or stopping and starting like at the back end of this year.
Pecorelli is adamant that is not a solution. Hospitality cannot work like that; and up until this point it has felt to him as if the government does not understand the complexity of staffing rotas, food orders and more. Last year, his business spent £300,000 on tech, hand sanitizer, physically changing the layout and more every time new restrictions were introduced, and within days they were already changed again. In December, there was a 10-day period with four major announcements.
“I get the virus is a moving thing that no one can pre empt,” he concedes, “but the tiers just didn’t work for hospitality. What we need is clarity. If they are going to put restrictions in – for example outdoor only or no alcohol – that is a restriction, and businesses need to support.”
He concluded on an optimistic note: “I would say I do feel that the government are starting to listen – we do need to continue to push our case – but I left the call feeling slightly upbeat. He understood that the government infrastructure isn’t right, and sees it is contributing far more in Britain on every level than they have given us credit for.”