With the official holiday season just a few weeks away, the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA) Cape region says member establishments have measures in place to ensure they’re not affected by the egg shortage following the outbreak of avian flu.
To-date around three million birds have already been affected by the H5N8 strain of bird flu, bringing with it an egg shortage. In the Western Cape in particular, the price of eggs has increased substantially as a result of losing more than 60% of layer hens. But FEDHASA Cape chairperson, Jeff Rosenberg says there is no need for alarm. He says while members are concerned about the outbreak, every endeavour has been taken to make sure establishments are not hard hit, and that the price of egg-containing dishes, like breakfasts and confectionary items are not increased, especially as the province’s hospitality industry prepares for a bumper holiday season.
“As an industry we are deeply concerned about this outbreak and the consequences thereof. However, we can assure everyone that we have measures in place to meet the needs of guests. And we continue to weigh our options for alternatives should this escalate further,” Rosenberg says.
He says establishments like the Townhouse Hotel and Events Centre in the CBD; the Vineyard Hotel in Claremont and the Roundhouse Restaurant in Camps Bay have each been affected differently, but assures that each establishment is hard at work to make sure the egg supply meets the demand of guests.
The Vineyard Hotel
The egg shortage has particularly helped the establishment during its planning phase. And while the Vineyard Hotel uses more than 1028 eggs per day, and sometimes 1420 eggs per day on the weekend, its overall eggs order has not decreased since the outbreak.
The hotel continues to source its produce from the same free range company it’s always used and its purchasing strategy has not been affected either.
Worst case scenario:
Maintaining a good relationship with the existing supplier is crucial to keep the lines of communication open. But so is building relationships with new suppliers, especially as a back-up in the event that this crisis extends further.
Since the shortage hit the Western Cape, the Roundhouse has not included any new egg dishes to its menu, and the establishment continues to investigate the use of egg-free alternatives, especially as an adaption to its breakfast menu on a Saturday and Sunday morning. The establishment still uses both its initial egg suppliers and to-date all orders have been met successfully.
Potential price increase:
The Roundhouse recognises that increasing the price of dishes that contain egg might be necessary, but will not allow the increase to become unaffordable and unsustainable.
Townhouse Hotel and Events Centre:
Sourcing eggs at an affordable price has been challenging for the Townhouse Hotel. In recent weeks, the establishment has increased its order to keep-up with the demand. This establishment uses around 360 eggs a day, but admits that its been minimally affected.
Just in case:
In the event that this crisis deepens, and eggs become unavailable, the establishment will make use of pasteurised eggs, and dishes that contain eggs will be removed from the menu completely. The Townhouse Hotel is in regular contact with suppliers in case orders need to be increased.
“Cape Town’s restaurants and hotels are doing very well despite the shortage. And we’d like for them to use it as a platform to come up with new, fresh ideas on how to cook and bake. During times like these, innovation is important,” Rosenberg says.