tv Whatd You Miss Bloomberg November 17, 2021 4:30pm-5:00pm EST
caroline: i'm caroline hyde. romaine: the bloomberg new economy forum in singapore is underway as financial leaders discuss the economic recovery out of the pandemic. today, we will take a look at the status of the global reopening. we will take into travel a few days ahead of one of the busiest travel to weeks in the year. plus we will talk to the founder of soho house as it makes plans
to open new locations next year. and we'll talk about the restaurant industry. one of the most prominent industries hit by the pandemic, causing owners to rethink how and where customers eat. one of the trends we have been talking a lot about on this program, ghost kitchens. taylor: i love to travel, so i picked this chart out for myself. we love the terminal data that we can get. the tsa is now predicting that passenger levels will be "very close to pre-pandemic levels" in this period around thanksgiving. it is traditionally one of the best periods of the year. tsa say in -- saying they are staffed and ready. this brings up a lot of issues
about getting the right staffing levels there. really fascinating when you think about, are we back? romaine: they are saying we will still fall a little short of 2019 levels. there are now capacity issues. anyone who has traveled lately knows the logistics of flying these days are more complicated than they used to be. you don't have the same level of planes, level of staffing or attention. not to mention, have you looked at prices for a ticket lately? taylor: i have not. i just want to make sure those that are flying are behaving themselves. romaine: [laughter] of course. we will talk about travel on the show. we will talk a lot about what is going on in the restaurant industry. we talk about entertainment. caroline, you are standing by with someone special. caroline: membership collective group, the owner of soho houses. it has an awful lot under that membership collective group
bracket. it plans to keep expanding its network of private clubs, locations here in new york, doha as well. let's bring in the founder. great to have you here. great to be traveling once again. we have seen the tsa numbers come up. the pent up demand, is that what is giving you confidence to expand/ >> fu -- to expand? >> airplanes full when i came over from london. it is real pent-up demand. we are expanding. caroline: talk to us about what you have under your umbrella. we know the soho house group, but where do you double down? is it financiers, expanding that round for example? nick: at the center is soho, where we have 33 houses
globally. we have six or seven new houses opening next year. we opened four or five already this year. we are opening a ned in the nomad area of new york, which is more professionally like-minded membership. caroline: i'm interested how supply reacts to the pent up demand. how are you finding hiring at the moment, making sure you are willing to spend what you want on labor? nick: it has been a challenging two years in every year. our home business is finding challenges in the supply chain, but we are getting around that. the supply in the restaurant and hotels and the clubs, we're good. the customer is not noticing any difference whatsoever. there are staff shortages, but we are looking at different ways of recruiting, paying well, looking at encouraging people
from other industries to join hospitality. caroline: do you think you will pack on those rising costs when it comes to food inflation? how are you looking to that? nick: we are negotiating with our suppliers. we are incredibly sensitive about that. they see their weekly shock go up. they understand prices will go up generally everywhere. caroline: just how many people are still waiting to get an membership? how do you tackle that desire? nick: it's fantastic. it's been fantastic to see how many people applied for soho house membership. caroline: how many now? nick: this year we had over 30,000 people applied. -- people apply. our houses are busy.
membership is at the center of all that we do. it is about members, houses, making our members happy. caroline: what is amazing is the birdseye's perspective we have in terms of the way people want to spend their money. i spoke to you previously about how you were tailoring to people who had to stay-at-home amid the lockdown. people wanted to make cocktails, they wanted to work out as a community. they could not do it in your gym, so they perhaps worked out at home. what are people wanting to do right now? nick: i think it is a hybrid. mcg and soho house in particular, we offer hybrid memberships so people can physically enjoy the houses, but if they are not in the house they can connect through our app to other members digitally.
they like having both. caroline: when you also have the bird's eye perspective of all the regions, i'm as a brit in new york worrying about covid in the u.k. how do you brace yourself? are you bracing yourself for, dare i say it, more lockdowns? nick: i think in britain, no. i think cases are slightly going up. if you go to london, it does really feel back to normal. the clubs are busy, the restaurants, it's very hard to get reservations. you find that here in america now as well and here in new york and the west coast, it's busy. europe slightly slower. amsterdam went into a semi-lockdown earlier this week. we are confident that people have found a way around the pandemic and ill -- and will get back to normal. caroline: inherently, what you
offered is exclusivity to some degree, cool, if you put it that way. how do you increase membership without making things feel too full? is it a hybrid model? nick: first of all, we will never overcrowd our clubs. the only way -- one of the main ways of expanding membership is opening in new, exciting cities. are members love new houses. we opened. -- opened -- we opened paris, rome earlier this year. they are delighted. we are going into new, interesting cities. caroline: this is your second public earnings, first public earnings? how are you finding being a public ceo? nick: i was a bit nervous about
it, but i'm enjoying it. i'm enjoying the discipline, the smart questions, explaining the story and the exciting story of what is ahead. caroline: is there anything you think people are not going to get in terms of the story? nick: no. i think they understand the membership, new houses, new members. i think they are getting it. caroline: we thank you for answering more questions today. enjoy that flight back, if it is not too full. romaine: soho house members, we know they are a jet set bunch. the question is, are they getting back on the commercial jets? some have their own jets. [laughter] for us mere mortals who have to get on those commercial flights, we are keeping an eye on the tsa data. that starts to pick up with the thanksgiving holiday just a week
away. expectations are high for a rebound in travel. let's talk a little bit more about what to expect. mary, is this going to be back to 2019 levels in the week ahead? mary: most of the forecasts are we will be close to but not surpass 2019 levels. that number won't top 2019, but they are saying it will be close. taylor: how are they in terms of staffing, not only for tsa, but pilots? mary: the tsa says they are sufficiently staffed. they have gone on a hiring surge recently and say they will handle the crowds that will occur. the airline has also been hiring pilots. they have to go through training. they also brought back a lot of pilots that had taken leave during the height of the pandemic. romaine: how are some of these airlines right now preparing,
specifically the u.s. airlines, preparing for international travel? we had the lifting of the travel ban on november 8, at least for vaccinated folks. have we already started to see an uptick in international travel? mary: the airlines have talked about how as soon as that was announced, that would be the day they saw a huge surge in ticket sales. doug parker commented in a webcast that i saw hundreds of times the normal -- they saw hundreds of times the normal ticket sales once they opened up. all their airlines on the eighth and subsequent days reported high load. taylor: in all seriousness, the rowdiness of passengers has been a huge concern for some of the airlines in making sure that people stay safe. it was like everyone was so cooped up, they forgot how to
behave. what are they doing in terms of hiring to make sure the rowdiness stays under control and people feel safe? mary: i think what they are trying to do is reemphasize to their flight attendants the way to de-escalate. they are trained to do that. they do that all the time. even when you don't have these unruly passengers, they do have to de-escalate tensions. they airlines and unions as well are strongly urging that the federal government prosecute these people, that they don't just levy fines against them, but that they prosecute them criminally. that is one of the main things they are trying to do. although fines have been levied, they think it will take a criminal penalty, may be a jail sentence before people start to pay attention. romaine: great stuff, mary, keeping an eye on the travel industry. eight days away from thanksgiving, a lot of book starting to hop back on those
planes, at least domestically. with international restrictions eased, seeing out an inbound travel from foreigners. coming up on this program, one bright spot in the hard-hit restaurant industry has been the ghost kitchens. you have heard of them. not real restaurants, but they cook real food for takeout and delivery. it has become a big deal. a lot of money is behind it. the ceo of one of the companies behind this will join us in just a moment to talk about this trend. ♪
recover from the pandemic, we keep an eye on how restaurants are doing. one of the big trends, ghost kitchens. remember when ghosting used to be a bad thing? [laughter] taylor: ghosting in this case is a good thing, as we are all aware. thankfully our dating lives are over. you can be ghosted by a kitchen. the big trend we are seeing with these restaurants being really good with takeout and delivery. i will try to prove to you i am hip enough, i know what these ghost kitchens are. in some ways it makes them more efficient. they focus only on that delivery experience. caroline: it also helps service to suburbs, where people are used to getting takeout. they want to get the delicious burger or sushi they used to get. romaine: it is something i don't
think a lot of regular people paid attention to. from an investment perspective, it brought a lot of attention to it. caroline: let's talk to a man who knows exactly what we are doing here, the ceo of wow bao, who partners with restaurants to supply items for pickup and delivery by delivery apps like doordash and uber eats, and tells us about whether or not demand is raining -- is remaining as strong as it was. geoff: thank you for having me. we started out pre-covid, back in november of 2019. we already had national distribution of our product. we thought we could help restaurants that were not making enough money, that were not breaking even or have enough money to the bottom line. we could help them by having them sell our product out the back door with third-party delivery. we ran with a couple partners,
then covid hit in april 2020. until today we launched over 500 locations across the country, helping restaurants by giving them products they can finish in the restaurants, selling it out for backdoor, keeping the lights turned on, having money to pay for employees, rent. taylor: how are they doing regionally? you mentioned 500 across the country. has there been a mass exodus from these big cities? geoff: we have stores based in chicago. we feel it ourselves because of people moving into suburban areas and working from home, all suburban restaurants we know outside of our business and the ones we work with are doing much better. we know our partners we are working with in rural areas are definitely seeing much higher traffic. romaine: talk to us about the customer response to this.
ghost kitchens, there seems to be a bit of trepidation. people did not know, artie's real restaurants? who are they affiliated with? do you think the mystique around this has been varnished off enough where people are comfortable, whether it is wow bao or one of your competitors? geoff: at the end of the day, restaurants are built on trust. you trust the server will take care of you, the food will be good, the host will see to you in a certain amount of time. that relationship has to continue in this virtual space. trust that happens here, is the product hot if it is supposed to be hot? does it come on time? is the food good, is it safe? do you feel you got an experience out of it? one thing we work with our partners to do is make sure the dining experience translates to home. we are an 18-year-old brand that became national overnight.
we know that our product works well, that our packaging works well and we have the right training in place to make sure our partners are able to communicate the right way to all of our guests. caroline: we were just talking to the ceo of membership collective group. they were talking about how there are labor shortages. they are trying to think of new ways to keep employees happy. how is labor affecting you at the moment? geoff: what is great about this program we put together, for wow bao, there is no labor involved. it is operators of existing restaurants doing this. for our product, it is the easiest thing to come out of your kitchen. for operators who are having labor troubles, they can pull back on their existing menu items to make it easier to operate, and they can turn on wow bao at the same time because of the ease of execution and they have larger menus.
labor is definitely the number one problem facing the restaurant business right now and will continue for some time. our solution, because it is just a steam product, you can boil water and serve on third-party delivery, we think we have helped the restaurant operator survive during this labor shortage. taylor: what on average are you hearing is the appropriate menu price increase that some of the restaurants are passing on to consumers? geoff: that is all over the board. i know some operators who have not taken price, some go as high as 10% to 15%. i heard some on delivery left forms are going as high as 30% to cover their fees from third-party operators. i was recently at a conference in las vegas and got introduced to a group who had a system that can be built into your point-of-sale system, sort of
how uber and lyft are doing things now during rain storms, they can recognize when you are busy and raise prices. i for one am not in favor of that. you need to take care of your customer. your customer has an expectation of what they are getting from you and you should be honest and truthful at all times. your question goes across the industry. there are a lot of people doing different things. romaine: you talked about the surge pricing and we all shuddered. [laughter] geoff: i am shuddering too. taylor: thank you so much, the ceo of wow bao. romaine: which one are you going for? the teriyaki chicken? taylor: these vegetarian options are so good. save your final thoughts, because that is next. this is bloomberg. ♪
romaine: another award-winning show here on "what'd you miss?" where we talk about the reopening trade. we talked about travel, ghost kitchens, and we talked about the picante and what you are drinking later tonight. caroline: spicy cocktails and how people want to have a hybrid model. we are shuddering at the idea of getting surge pricing on food. taylor: he had a good point, geoff alexander, that that is not the way to go if these relationships are based on trust, particularly ghost kitchens. it really is that trust that carries the relationship. romaine: trust is important. they found out chucky cheese was essentially operating an ghost kitchen and other stories. if you go on some of these apps, it's not always clear. caroline: fascinating. romaine: i just want the
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announcer: from the heart of where innovation, money and power collide, in silicon valley and beyond, this is bloomberg technology with emily chang. ♪ emily: i'm emily chang in san francisco and this is "bloomberg technology." coming up in the next hour, the chip shortage. we take into nvidia's bet on the metaverse and the statusf