The biggest crisis that has been the largest crisis for the food industry. Thus defined the president of the Chilean Gastronomy Association, Máximo Picallo, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its sector. And it’s no wonder: with enclosed premises, many covered by the Employment Protection Act, unpaid leases and warm contact with delivery, the industry is living its worst days.
For Picallo, the measures taken by the government have not accompanied either. «The measures taken by the authority were always focused on a three-month period of the order,» he says. He adds that «all the measures are falling short, because deep down no one today is very clear about how deep this crisis is going to be and how far it’s going to go in terms of us being able to reopen.»
In a public statement, Achiga called for all actors involved in the food industry, such as last-mile companies (home offices), payment system operators, suppliers, among others, to reconsider their collections. This group includes landlords.
«Many restaurants are in areas that have rents that are unpayable today,» Explains Picallo. «Landlords also have to have a position, understanding that they won’t have 20 people waiting to lease the premises if the tenant they have leaves,» he adds.
It also places malls that, while many are not charging rents because they are closed, «there are common expenses that are sometimes quite high. There is not much transparency of how these common expenses are calculated and when the malls reopen, there is also not much clarity about what the new trading conditions will be.»
In the same vein, the gastronomic entrepreneur points to Transbank and last mile companies for the amount of commissions. In the case of the first, the collection of sales fees with credit cards reaches approximately 3%, says Picallo.
With the four-part tariff model (consisting of which acquiring issuers and operators operate autonomously in the card transaction process, process to which users and commerce are added), Picallo expects this to change with the entry of new entrant to the market. «What we expect is that this competition will effectively generate better commissions for us,» he says.
Flexibility in reopening
«For the future come many things. We are looking at whether VAT is lowered in Germany, one option is to lower VAT,» says Picallo. However, for Achiga, the most important thing to rescue the industry is the reopening.
«They can rescue us for three months, they can rescue us for six months, here the important thing is to see how, when we can open, we can have in some way the security for our workers, the safety for our customers, of being able to get back to work, because there are no economic measures, in any country in the world, of any tax in the world, that can have you six months , eight months closed without being able to operate,» argues the owner of the gastronomic association.
For the reopening of the industry, the gastronomic entrepreneur intends, together with the association, to promote measures aimed at «increasing the box» and granting flexibility. Among the first, Picallo thinks about the temporary non-payment of PPM (Monthly Provisional Payments).
On the measures of the second group, the president of Achiga argues for work flexibility. «We’re going to be a pretty flexible industry in terms of rehiring people, as long as we have the flexibility, because if we don’t have flexibility you’re not going to be willing to hire people either if you think you won’t be able to sustain yourself over time.»
«Dimension the letter»
«This industry is going to transform,» Says Picallo. And in their eyes, they are already occurring: some restaurants, through delivery, have relocated, for example, the garzone stands to delivery men.
More changes will occur in the reopening of the premises. According to the Achiga holder, they will have to «narrow their cards» and modify from the way it is served to adjust the number of staff. «This reality that’s going to
we’ve never lived it,» he says.
Finally, Picallo urges the population to comply with quarantine measures. Let’s hope that if we’re all conscientis and we take a serious position for three or four weeks, we can effectively turn this around, so that the economy can work again, because really the health crisis is terrible, but the economic crisis is going to last for many more years.»