The new Coronavirus is raging.
As of April 14, the world’s cumulative number of infected people is nearly 2million, with 120,000 deaths.
You will know that on May 5, there were 3.58 million infections and 252,000 deaths.
It is no exaggeration to say that this is the biggest crisis for human race and economy in the 55 years of my life. Who would have thought that the biggest crisis in business would come from a completely unorthodox angle? We have lived through the collapse of the bubble economy, the earthquake, the 2008 financial crisis, and various social and economic milestones, but this Coronavirus is on a different scale.
The impact of the Coronavirus on the global economy is just beginning. I personally do not think that 10% of the whole impact has yet passed. It is hard to imagine how enormous this impact would be if the remaining 90% would take place.
Covid-19 has stopped all kinds of economic activity. It does not discriminate what, where or who to influence, unlike financial crises or earthquakes. It has an influence on everything and everyone.
And, to be very frank, this virus seems to be a “well-made” virus –– I can understand why some people would say it is human-made virus. As the symptoms arrive more slowly than the conventional flu, people who are infected but asymptomatic will spread the virus.
Whether you are asymptomatic or symptomatic, only way to suppress its power is to isolate.
Isolation= forcing you to stop connecting with others
The keyword for fighting Covid-19 in Japan “DANMITSU”, meaning “Avoid 3Cs: Containment, Crowd, and Contact” has emerged for a reason.
In that sense, it can be said that this virus is challenging our human instinct.
People desire to be connected with others. There is an instinct to want to have a bond, to touch each other, and to feel people.
Mazlow’s theory also has a category for a connection with society. It’s a social desire.
One of the things that suppresses instinctive and worldly desires is fasting. In Islam, it is called Ramadan. We have done many businesses in Muslim countries, so I have experienced Ramadan many times. I think the instinct to eat when Ramadan is over is just amazing. The restaurant will have huge numbers of customers and they will eat huge amount of food.
Now, we are experiencing a situation that “disconnects.”
“Stay at Home” allows you to have connection with your family member only. Of course, unlike the old days, there is the Internet and IT, so you can communicate with others using social media and various tools. Perhaps we should be feeling thankful for at least being able to contact others even during the pandemic.
However, the connection that people desire is not what you can find in these thin monitors, but thicker, deeper connection: Kizuna is what people want.
A few weeks has already passed disconnected.
What are you feeling?
What are you missing?
Is there anywhere you want to go to?
If just “food” is what restaurants sell as their products, you can go to a supermarket, or you can get take-out or delivery instead. You can be satisfied by ordering and eating furiously just like after fasting.
But I think what we are feeling now is a bit different—— It’s almost like loneliness…?
The food itself and the taste must be good, of course, but I think Kizuna is what our restaurants should and can offer as their real product.
Kizuna that customers demand
Kizuna amongst employees
Kizuna between employees and customers
Kizuna amongst customers
How much have your stores offered these connections so far? Have you shared it enough?
What did you used to do to the customer when he/ she couldn’t get in because the store was full?
Have you felt appreciation for each and every one of customers who came to the store?
A place that customers can go to after a long day at work: a place where they can talk frankly with staff: a place where they can go with anyone. We want a place with atmosphere like that.
Since I had to stop visiting the stores, I have found out so many things.
In this coronavirus crisis, I think we got to know each other better.
Customers are starting to realise the value of Kizuna with each store now it has taken away from them. The stores are also feeling more appreciation for their customers. We are all feeling each other’s value and loneliness.
When this pandemic is over and when we are released from the restriction, there will be a lot of things that we can do with this gratitude for each other.
This is to all of us.
I would like to cherish such a feeling.
Not only when this is over but also for good, from now on.
It is hard now but, thinking about what you want to do when the time comes can help. I am hopeful that the relationship between F&B stores/ restaurants and customers will be better than ever.
Maybe you can only feel gratitude for ordinary things when an extraordinary thing happenes.
There are many things that we feel grateful for only when we lose it–– like parents or a loved one.
I am looking forward to the future, anyway!
Assentia Holdings, Inc.