Have you ever considered the impact of eating one meal at a local restaurant, deli, coffee shop or take-away? The answer provided at a webinar hosted by Proudly South African last week is definitely ‘food for thought’.
Rebuilding South Africa’s economy is now essential… and it can be a win-win situation for everyone. Your visit to a hotel, eatery, winery or game reserve has a knock-on effect on the production value chain and in turn employment and sustainability. According to Stewart Jones of RCL Foods “at least 28 families are affected by the purchase of one meal”.
Let’s take a hamburger as an example: The waiter, kitchen staff members and the outlet owner are at the end of the chain… the humble beginnings are the farms where the animals are bred and the crops are grown; then follow the mills or the abattoirs; the manufacturers and the processing plants; the distributors; logistics teams for delivery… an extremely simplistic view, but it provides an idea of the impact.
The hospitality industry is one of the largest sources of employment and contributor to South Africa’s GDP. “It’s our responsibility to ensure they [local outlets] get the support,” stated Eustace Mashimbye, Proudly South African CEO. “We create jobs by buying local.”
Webinar convenor – Proudly South African’s CMO – Happy Ngidi, a former restaurant owner added: “It’s so much more than a meal which is provided – it’s the ambience and the experience.” Wendy Alberts – CEO: Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) expanded: “There’s the chemistry, lighting, sound, entertainment … most of all, the creation of magic moments. People getting together for an experience that integrates the senses.”
When it comes to accommodation, such as staying overnight at a hotel, it is so much more than merely the provision of a comfortable bed to rest one’s weary head. The impact you provide as the guest extends beyond the staff complement as chemicals are needed for sanitisation; sheets, pillows and duvets need to be manufactured; that leads us back to the cottonfields which need to be planted and harvested. With respect to furniture, there are the tree plantations; sawmills; local manufacturers and carpenters… merely, the tip of the iceberg not even touching on the digital industry and its impact on reservations, security and more.
Ultimately however, it’s all about the experience… and we, as the hospitality industry aim to expand on that experience. Whether it’s a local musician strumming in a corner; an entertainer on stilts folding balloons; or sourcing product from local vendors let’s support local … let’s buy local and be ‘proudly South African’. Indeed, the South African hospitality industry is one of the biggest platforms for job creation… and you are a major player! The next time you order a cup of coffee know that you are making a difference to so many lives… it’s not a simple cuppa! If you add a muffin… need we say more?