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Coronavirus Effects 1

By April 29th, 20207 Comments

Juggling your Hospitality Business to survive
the Corona Virus

by Jess Fishburn and Colin Higgs/23rd-March-2020


We are living in an extremely uncertain time with the anxiety of the Coronavirus difficulties we are currently facing and those that we are about to face. It is now more important than ever that we come together to get through this. In light of this, we have gathered together key information and resources that we want to share with you to help your business survive this pandemic.

What government support there is for your business
○ Loan schemes
Tax suspensions
Wage payments
Concerns over loan repayment
Crisis response: diversifying your business model 
Opportunities for online delivery service
Resources to support your business

We intend to keep you informed of Coronavirus developments weekly over the next several months through our newsletter and social media sites as well. Please sign up and follow us for more details. 

The Coronavirus (ref 1) pandemic is having a dramatic impact on all of us. The self-isolating measures brought into place by the UK Government (ref 2) recently, in particular rule 3 and 4:

  1. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this.
  2. Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs

These self-isolating measures have had a massive impact on the HaFS (Hospitality and Food Services) sector (ref 3). Restaurants, Cafes, Pubs, Hotels, Schools, Colleges and Universities all face massive upheavals. Potential redundancies for both cooking and service staff and the supply chain that services them could be hit the hardest. What can be done to dampen the virus effect hardships and what is the UK Government offering to do for us? 

UK sets out £330 billion Coronavirus business loan package: 11th March- available 23 March 2020

Well, initially the British government on Tuesday 17th March announced a £330 billion rescue package of loan guarantees to help U.K. businesses survive the economic fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic (ref 4). The scheme is meant to be in place by the 23rd of March. All of the UK’s domestic banking services are participating in the loan scheme. However, the complete package details have yet to be released by the Government.

Small firms in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will all be eligible for cash grants of up £25,000 assist paying bills, the government chancellor Rishi Sunak said, while relief from business rates — a tax on business properties — will be extended to all shops, pubs, theatres, music venues, restaurants and other firms in the sector, meaning they will not pay the tax for an entire year.

Sunak urged any businesses that were already making decisions to lay off workers to stall such actions and look at the details of the newly-announced support.

Rishi Sunak said “The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee against the outstanding facility balance”, the borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt though. 

Sunak stated “The Government will also cover the first 6 months of interest payments, so businesses will benefit from lower initial repayments.”, again the business remains liable for repayments of the capital. The original announcement suggested a maximum value of £1.2 million, however, the maximum value of a facility provided under the scheme will be 5 million pounds. Finance terms are from three months up to ten years for term loans and asset finance and up to three years for revolving facilities and invoice finance.

VAT Suspended until June 2020 and Tax: March 17th (ref 5)
The Chancellor also said, “VAT suspended for next quarter, nothing due till June and till the end of the year to repay.”  Universal Credit will also be raised by £1,000 per year for a whole year.

The HMRC has launched a helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559 (ref 6)
➔ to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to Covid-19
➔ announced a revision of late payment interest rates after the Bank of England reduced rates
➔ businesses with outstanding tax liabilities could agree an additional time to settle their tax affairs through HMRC’s ‘Time To Pay’ scheme

Business rates suspended for 1 year: March 17th (ref 7)
The Chancellor announced Tuesday 17th March that all retail and hospitality firms in the country will be granted a 12-month business rates holiday as well as the 330 billion pounds worth of loans available.

March 20th: ALL hospitality businesses to close and 80% of PAYE wages to be paid (ref 8)
As of Friday 20th March, cafes, pubs and restaurants must close from Friday night. The announcement about closures follows similar measures taken in other countries, including in Ireland, where pubs and bars were asked to close from last Sunday.

The government said it will pay 80% of wages for employees who are not able to work during this period, up to £2,500 a month. This is provided they are kept on and furloughed by their employer and enrolled in the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) system. This aims to help counter financial hardship for individuals, and encourage employers to avoid using lay-offs as a measure of coping with the business impacts of the crisis. Sunak stated that there would be no limit placed on the funding available to businesses, in the form of grants available via HMRC, to be used by employers to pay 80% of employees’ wages, up to a cap per person of £2,500 per month.

The scheme will be backdated to 1 March 2020 and be open initially for the next three months. The first grants will be paid within weeks, according to Sunak.

Loan Concerns: business owners are worried they ‘could never repay loan’ (ref 9). How can they get into a position to repay back the loans if they are not generating any revenue for up to six to nine months? For most corporate companies the only option for them is to close their kitchens.

However, with the digital age we live in there is an opportunity for diversifying some business models from a seated eating service to an online delivery food service. Changing a business model can be thwarted and risky but to have no way of generating income for almost 6 to 9 months maybe even worse to imagine. Several restaurants, cafes, pubs and hotels are seriously considering an online delivery service and you may have already seen some doing so (ref 10).

The virus cannot be passed on by cooked food (ref 11), however, picking up the food or delivering the food may still be a concern. Recently, Deliveroo (ref 12announced a new ‘no contact’ service between you and the driver to mitigate risk. In Bournemouth (ref 13a lot of new delivery services are even opening up specifically to support people who are self-isolating. The delivery services are offering free deliveries and loyalty cards. Others are offering phone orders and pickups. Businesses are trying to keep ahead of the virus. So how easy would it be to create an online food business?

How can we quickly change our business into an online service?
We had a look around at the best routes to change your business into a delivery service and WordPress had quite a few options (ref 14). These themes can be integrated with paying system plugins like stripe and woo-commerce (which also has its own themes) (ref 15 to ref 19).

From making a complete commercial website development with a Woo-commerce plugin to a quicker and easier set-up by using a food theme (ref 14) and attaching a “stripe” credit card payment plugin at the payment side (ref 15 to ref 19).

Our top five food themes to display menus and service for online delivery:

  1. Food Drop (ref 20)
    ○ Compatible with Maximum Mobile Devices Like Mobile Apps
    ○ Drag & Drop Food Delivery Website Development
    ○ Easy Customisation System & Order Management
    ○ Responsive Design for Mobile & Various Web Browsers
  2. Grand Restaurant | Restaurant WordPress for Restaurant: (ref 21)
    ○ Focused on Food Shop Like Coffee Shop & Burger Shop
    ○ Setup All the Images, Content & Video Just in One Click
    ○ Easy Payment Gateway Setup for Food Delivery Websites
  3. Meals & Wheels | Street Food Festival & Fast Food Delivery WordPress Theme (ref 22):
    ○ Food Delivery – Event Registration – Restaurant Reservation
    ○ Several pre-made Layouts to Setup Food Shop Yourself
    ○ Perfect for Food Blog, Coffee Shop & Burger Shop
    ○ User-friendly Layouts – Easy to Setup
  4. Food Picky (ref 23)
    ○ Daily Deals marketplace (no need any paid plugins)
    ○ Group Buying shop with manual refunds for failed deals (no need any paid plugins)
    ○ Classic shop with physical products
    ○ Group Buying marketplace with paid WooCommerce Pre-Orders extension
    ○ Gift certificates shop with paid WooCommerce PDF Vouchers plugin
    ○ Shop with booking feature with paid WooCommerce Bookings extension
  5. Livekitchen | Restaurant Cafe WordPress Theme (ref 24):
    ○ Several Homepage Design & Page Layouts
    ○ Retina Ready Design with Parallax Background
    ○ Easy Customisation; Strong Admin Panel
    ○ SEO Optimised Food Delivery WordPress Theme
    ○ Event Page & Gallery Pages
    ○ Cost-effective Food Reservation WordPress Theme
    ○ Mobile & Other Devices Support

Online payment systems:

  1. WordPress FREE Stripe Payments for credit cards: The Stripe Payments plugin (ref 15 – ref 16) allows you to accept credit card payments via Stripe payment gateway on your WordPress site easily.
    ➔ It has a simple shortcode that lets you put Stripe “Buy Now” buttons anywhere on your site for a product or service.
    ➔ One-click payment via Stripe with a remember me feature.
    ➔ Responsive design so it is compatible with all devices and browsers.
    ➔ Your customers will be redirected to the “Checkout Result” page after the credit card payment. ➔ This page shows them the details of the transaction (the item that they just paid for).
    ➔ The transaction info is also captured in the orders menu of the plugin.
    ➔ You can view all the payments you received from your WordPress admin dashboard. (Installation and tutorials linked in references.)
  2. WordPress FREE WooCommerce plugin: A online modular commercial trading platform that sells ‘objects’ to food services (ref 17 – ref 19).
    ➔ There is a significant amount of time needed to construct a fully operational platform with a payment system constructed.
    ➔ However, plenty of suitable training is available online and within Udemy.
    ➔ There is also a benefit of a one-click food heme installation for restaurants and takeaway food.
    ➔ We have supplied some food themes for Woo below in the references (ref 19).
    Key features:
    ➔ Product, Cart, and Checkout pages
    ➔ Secure payments by credit card and alternatives
    ➔ Configurable shipping options, including flat rates and label printing
    ➔ Integrate content and commerce across your site via modular blocks
    ➔ Central store dashboard with key metrics, and more.Beyond the basics, WooCommerce is fully customisable and extendable:
    ➔ Choose a design to suit your brand and industry.
    ➔ Enhance your store with free and paid extensions: add features and integrate with local and global eCommerce web services.

Lastly, we found some further guidance for setting up a WordPress food business with some detailed tutorial instruction and overview online. (Please, refer to ref 25 and ref 26).

For now, that concludes our initial update on the Coronavirus impact on the hospitality businesses. We hope that you have found this article of some help detailing the support the UK Government is offering you and the alternative revenue possibilities for your business over the next coming months.

We intend to keep you informed of Coronavirus developments weekly over the next several months through our newsletter and social media sites as well. Please sign up and follow us for more details, and most importantly, stay safe!


  1. The Coronavirus: What is it?
  2. Uk Government distancing measures
  3. Coronavirus and the Hospitality effect:
  4. UK Government loans
  5. VAT Suspended
  7. Business rate suspended
  8. Help to pay PAYE wages
  9. The effect of the UK Government loans
  10. Business changing their business model
  11. Coronavirus and cooked food
  12. Deliveroo take away service food deivery service and the corona virus
  13. Bournemouth delivery services
  14. WordPress delivery food templates
  15. Stripe payments plugin
  16. Stripe tutorial
  17. Woo Commerce plugin
  18. Woo Commerce plugin Tutorial
  19. Woo Commerce food themes:
    .WordPress links:
  20. Food-drop theme WordPress Food Theme
  21. Grand Restaurant | Restaurant WordPress for Restaurant
  22. Meals and wheels WordPress Food Theme
  23. Food Picky WordPress Food Theme
  24. Livekitchen | Restaurant Cafe WordPress Theme
  25. How to Make a Restaurant Website With WordPress 100% Free, In 60 Minutes
  26. Create a WooCommerce Online Food Ordering Website:


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