Affari sp

August 2020

Life after COVID19 – So what happens after the Crisis is over?

Am I stating the obvious when I say that in all the years, I have been in business I have never seen such a challenging time in personal and business life?  When creating a Crisis Management Plan, you review and identify all the potential risks and then prepare a set of processes to deal with each situation.  I can safely say that on all the plans I have worked on, a pandemic was not on that list!

So, my question is, what happens when the COVID19 health crisis is over.  Do we go back to normal? What does normal look like?

There is no doubt in my mind that the hospitality industry will never be the same.  We already new that large footprint restaurants were needing to reduce their foot print, has COVID19 exponentially accelerated this?  

We are all now very settled into working, eating, exercising and entertaining (via video) from home.  What will this mean to office spaces, a city such as Melbourne with all the fast-casual lunch time food outlets?

When lockdown ends there will be an initial honeymoon with influx of patrons and this will need to be managed well.  As well as a Covid19 Safe plan I believe that food businesses will also need to ensure that they have a plan for diversification.  How will they now reach the percentage of population which is working from home and not returning to offices.  The most important factor I believe will be how they stayed in touch with their customers now, as well as ensuring that they develop different reasons for patrons to return to dine in. The planning and preparation should be occurring now, not when lockdown is over or when we have a vaccine!

We have been dealing with the current health concerns and we must appreciate that even though we have made mistakes, Australia has managed the situation well and our health professionals have been outstanding.  Listening to various doctors and nurses it is evident to me that they are being tested professionally and emotionally, with some of them also having to separate from their families to keep them safe.  We thank and commend them and appreciate all that they are doing for us.

For our personal welfare we need to stay connected and ensure that we look after each other.  Belonging is one of our most fundamental human needs and during this time it has been very difficult to connect.

While you are working on your return to work plan and recovery, as well as all the business strategies, ensure you include the care of your people.  What will you put in place to ensure everyone is ok and dealing well with the new transition?

On a positive note our environment has been doing well during this time which shows that we can make an impact and this dispels the idea that we cannot improve our conditions.  Let’s keep the momentum.

For me, this time has meant many hours spent with my husband and kids enjoying fresh cooking, walking and just hanging out.  I will definitely continue to do this after lockdown as I have really enjoyed it immensely.

Stay safe and keep smiling.

Ciao, a presto.

Sara Pantaleo, Affari SP Founder

Life after COVID19 – So what happens after the Crisis is over? Read More »

Why I love Family Business

Growing up Italian had its benefits but also its disadvantages.  I loved that we celebrated all occasions as a family but disliked being the youngest, and a girl. I had to do the dishes.  In our house there was always a lot of chaos and yelling, but there was also a lot of commitment and love.  

Sadly, my father passed away when I was eight and I did not know my eldest brother very well because he was working in North Italy for many years to provide for us. 

We migrated in Australia in 1977 and we all came together even though my brother was established in Turin.  From the moment we arrived my brother worked really hard in two jobs until he bought the first restaurant with his partner in 1985. 

I was the only one in my family who went to school in Australia and I pursued a career in IT. I worked for one of the top banks and was doing very well in amazing roles; IT operations, service management and support.  At the time 70% of bank employees were women but only 3% had roles in senior management.  I felt like a number in the strong hierarchical structure and felt unappreciated and insignificant no matter what I did.  I did not feel like I was having an impact.

The benefits of family business

So in 1996, I joined the family business my brother co-founded. I was to set up the distribution centre for 12 Italian restaurants.  Saying that I got a culture shock is an understatement.  Where previously I specialised in each role, working in the family business meant I had to learn fast- if I did not know how to do something, I just had to do it anyway.

Sara Pantaleo celebrates family business | Inside Franchise Business

The pressure was immense and it was a sink or swim environment but I loved it.  I felt a sense of purpose and knew that everything I did mattered, even if sometimes I made a mistake and I had to be accountable.

When there was work to be done, we worked long hours.  When there was success, we celebrated together.  As we grew the family business my responsibilities developed and I created a diverse team that worked together and built a sense of community where everyone felt part of the family.  

That family culture hasn’t changed.

Most of the franchisees we recruited at La Porchetta, are small, family-run enterprises and some of those families have been with the brand for more than 20 years, with the second generation now involved as well.  They serve their customers and build relationships with them so much so, that their children and grandchildren have now become customers. 

Franchisees and their staff are treated like extended family members and all of them are part of their local community.

I am now working with my children to create a family business for them and empower them to grow and leave a legacy for their children.

We all need to feel we are part of a community, whether it’s our family, school, work, worshipping, sports club or any other group. Having a sense of community promotes the mental health of everyone involved, from children to the elderly.

Family business is part of local community

Long-lasting, positive and meaningful emotional connections are part of the fabric of a happy society.  Sometimes we take our communities for granted and it’s great to just step back, take a breath and look around us at the wonderful people we share our lives with.   At this time in particular, I am sure that we are all reflecting on this.

I love family business because no matter how large or small the business, that sense of community and celebration is always there. 

I also love the fact that through the family business I did get to know my brother and spend many years learning from him – and teaching him a little at the end. He listened and it didn’t matter anymore that I was his little sister because we not only loved each other as siblings, but we respected each other as family members working in business together. 

The sense of community and family is particularly alive in franchising.  The franchisor and franchisee relationship is sometimes compared to a marriage, where the relationship will break down if open communication is lacking.  Similarly, successful franchise systems have a strong sense of community with an open and transparent relationship.  I have seen firsthand many franchisees succeed by harnessing their family talents and working together.  

Celebrate family business | Inside Franchise Business

So, I invite you to celebrate with me National Family Business Day 2020 on the 18th of September and recognise all the local hardworking family businesses that are the backbone of the Australian economy – many of them in franchising.  If you would like to find out how to get involved in this day click this link;

Why I love Family Business Read More »

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