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dealing with lockdown client experiences
21 August 2020
So the months that followed lockdown were some of the most bizarre I think I’ve had in my career, probably the same for most, but I thought I’d share some of my client experiences with you all.
LOCKDOWN IN A NUTSHELL
First, we watched the news, and laughed to one another about how silly the whole thing was, cringing as we put on the bottom of emails “stay safe out there!”, how the country would never be told to lockdown and everyone to stay in their houses…how wrong we were!
Next came the pre lockdown schemes to try and coax people to stay at home, starting with the 2 weeks of SSP that could be claimed from day 1, then the furlough carrot was dangled, but still, people continued about their daily life.
Then the dreaded Boris speech was announced, ‘full’ lockdown was upon us!
From that moment on, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying, for a lot of our clients, we went from being a bugbear, that person you just had to muster up the courage to speak to once a year, about the figures you don’t pay much attention to, to suddenly becoming your lifeline – in our clients eyes we held the purse strings and of course, we had an inside line straight to the Chancellor himself, in order to understand everything that was being announced!
There were many phone calls with clients in floods of tears, both at the uncertainty and frustrations, to the ones who were so happy we’d secured them some form of cashflow!
Q&A WITH NICK LEVENS, LIFE’S KITCHEN LIMITED
I caught up with Nick Levens, of Life’s Kitchen Limited, to ask him how his company’s coped with Covid-19:
Q: Can you tell me how far Covid-19’s disrupted your business?
A: Well, being in the hospitality industry and planning large events in London, we’ve had our whole business come to a standstill. I was driving through Guildhall last week and the words Zombie apocalypse sprang to mind, it was eerie!
Q: I know – how awful! Have you felt there’s been enough support for you from the Government?
A: At the moment, yes, we’re in total limbo as we currently stand, but with you guys submitting the furlough claims each month we haven’t had to lay anyone off.
Q: What do you think will happen after 31st October?
A: We’ll start to eat into the Bounce Back Loan you helped us with, as we haven’t had to touch that due to the furlough claims being successful each time, but after that, it doesn’t look great!
Q: Have you considered any other alternatives or any innovative ways that might help you to come back sooner?
A: Unfortunately with the guidance still being that you can’t have more than 30 people at a wedding, there isn’t a huge amount that can be done – our profit margins just couldn’t cope at all with those kinds of numbers. We have of course, just taken on a couple of pubs, so we’ve been able to employ some of the furloughed staff from Life’s Kitchen into that company.
Q: That’s great news, what made you chose to do that in this time?
A: Well, some would say it was possibly our most stupid move, being that pubs were totally closed up until 4th July, however it also meant people were literally dropping and running away from their leases, so we secured them at a good rate. The pub industry will come back quickly enough, so we’ll be in a good position before long.
Q: What do you think will happen if there’s another lockdown?
A: We cross our fingers and hold our breaths just like the first time around!
Q: Has Covid-19 changed your view on our relationship?
A: Massively. You guys have been there every step of the way, giving us business advice and keeping us as up to date with the schemes as they evolved around you!