Justin Burke of SEGA Amusements International is in positive mood, the industry, he says, ‘could come through this stronger’ if all stakeholders work together.
How do you see the first few weeks of the industry’s re-opening panning out for you?
Justin Burke: I guess it really is a complete unknown, but having been to my local town where nonessential retail is open I am encouraged that there is an appetite; coupled with the pubs that are doing take away service and clearly doing a good trade especially when the weather is on side, then I think as arcades can give the public some have missed, fun, then they are well positioned. Let’s not forget although English arcades opened 4th July as I write this there is nothing for Wales and Scotland that is firm and equally bowling centres remain shut too.
How will your daily work routine and business functions change due to Covid-19 and lockdown?
The obvious difference is less people in the office, some are working from home and some still on furlough. But nevertheless, each of our departments are still functioning be it spares, technical support, finance and the sales team are on hand for any help and advice customers might need right now.
Social distancing and international travel are two key areas that will need adjustment. How will that impact on your business and what measures are you taking to adapt?
International travel or lack of is a blow, but in the short term it is just about adjusting; firstly, there’s no shows to visit so really it’s not being able to visit customers that we will miss. But everyone seems to have been brought closer thanks to Teams or Zoom, and for the time being it will work and will make it extra special when we do get the chance to make a customer visit in person.
You’ve got a reputation for hitting the ground running, so what’s on the product development plan?
Right now we don’t think the industry needs ‘new new’ product; just prior to the lockdown the industry had just come off the back of EAG and IAAPA with loads of great new product launches such as our Mission Impossible or ICE’s All In and Hoop It Up. Those products are still new!
The coming months are crucial to the health of the business. What do you think the government needs to do in terms of grants, tax concessions and regulatory support to ensure a sustainable way forward for you?
Principally a cut in VAT to 17.5 percent and a cut in MGD to 5 percent. The lack of support from the government for the supply chain, like us at Sega and our peers, has been disappointing.
What has been the real impact of lockdown on business and the industry in general?
Time will tell, but clearly in the short term it may be loss of jobs which is a crying shame for such a hospitable industry. But if all aspects of the industry work together from suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and financiers to operators then we could