Simbisa operating at 25%, significantly cuts down on supply orders

HARARE – Simbisa Brands is now operating at 25% capacity following the commencement of the second level lockdown this week.
CE Warren Meares said that the business has had to reduce orders while putting employees on a 14-day rotational shift system while some outlets are closed.

“Though it is still early days to speak with certainty, the company is operating at a quarter of its capacity. We have devised a system where employees will work for 14 days while others quarantine as part of efforts to safeguard customers and staff. As a business we are prioritising health instead of profitability.”

Meares said they had reduced orders from suppliers, which means losses in terms of perishables will be minimal. “We normally use about 40-50 tonnes of potatoes a day and about 60 tonnes of chicken but we have reduced this to about 5 and 10 tonnes, respectively.”

COVID-19 has imposed shocks on all segments of food supply chains, simultaneously affecting farm production, food processing, transport and logistics, and final demand.  Meares said that the major impact will be felt by the supply chain. “With the rains coming where will the potato producers offload their products? This (the supply chain) is where the losses will be felt.”

The Government through the Minister of Health and Child Care, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga introduced new national lockdown measures following a spike in COVID-19 cases. Under Statutory Instrument 10 of 2021, the country will be under lockdown for 30 days where only essential services will be allowed to operate.

Food outlets such as Simbisa are allowed to operate from 8am to 3pm but they should not have any sit in customers as all gatherings have been banned. “Business hours for supermarkets and other essential services supplying goods and services to customers shall be from 0800hrs to 1500hrs.

Simbisa together with other industry players continue to engage Government particularly on two key things, the extension of operating hours and takeaway and delivery services for non-hotel-based restaurants.

“Engagements with the Ministry of Industry are ongoing to see if we can find a right balance to allow for more home deliveries especially after hours. But we need to also remember that home deliveries do not bring many sales when compared to walk in customers. We will continue to engage but now we are sticking to the set operating hours.”

During the first level-four lockdown in 2020, Simbisa reported revenue growth of 894% (historical) and 19% (inflation adjusted) year-on-year this is despite recording a 33% decline in trading hours as compared to the same time the previous year. -Financial Express.