National Hospitality Day 2021 – the industry needs you
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Tired. Stressed. Beleaguered. Depressed. The lingering effects of Covid-19 have left us all feeling the pinch – whether financially, emotionally...or both.
For those more acutely affected, the aftermath has been devastating – especially in the hospitality industry, where the combination of forced closures, staffing and supply chain issues, have created a ‘perfect storm’. While some have adapted and survived, other businesses, from hotels to bars, cafes and restaurants, are hanging on by a thread.
And this is where you can come in. Here is how you can help.
September 18, 2021, marks National Hospitality Day. The UK-wide initiative (a combined project between charities Hospitality Action, The Drinks Trust, Springboard and Licensed Trade Charity) urges customers to leave no business behind this autumn.
As we return to some semblance of normality, let’s not forget the fantastic local hotel that looked after us on our staycation this summer...or the family-friendly pub that welcomed us, our brood and the family dog for drinks and Sunday lunch when restrictions lifted. Our continued patronage into (and beyond) autumn, is vital to each and every one of these destinations. As is our understanding and patience as they navigate the next few months.
National Hospitality Day is also a chance for businesses to shout out proudly about what they do – creating activity and excitement around the day, encouraging guests to donate to those four key industry charities which have been making a real difference to hospitality in the last 18 months.
Why has National Hospitality Day been created?
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Organisers say: “The pandemic hit the hospitality industry and the suppliers that support it like a hammer blow. Restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels and venues have all grappled with an existential threat this past year, as have the farmers, brewers, manufacturers and distributors that supply them.
“Despite this, operators and their suppliers have demonstrated huge resilience. They’ve worked tirelessly to fuel the workers in the frontline of the fight against Covid. They’ve kept hospital patients, care home residents and schoolchildren fed. Hospitality can be a challenging industry to work in. Many factors – long hours, low pay, the adrenaline of service – can conspire to raise stress levels. And hospitality workers are of course prone to all the challenges – physical, mental, financial – that affect the human condition.”
National Hospitality Day has been designed to provide a showcase for these businesses, create additional footfall and engagement, and to underline the huge role the industry plays in our lives.
Chef Tom Kerridge says: “All our biggest moments go on in hospitality venues, from first dates to weddings, and baby showers to wakes, they’re where the moments that make life worth living take place. That morning chat with your friendly barista, a cheeky pint after work with mates, Saturday morning soaks in a hotel pool, or Sunday roast with the family…we all took these experiences for granted.
"National Hospitality Day is a chance for your customers to say “welcome back, we’ve missed you - and thanks for everything you’ve been doing” to their favourite venues. Restaurants, pubs and hotels up and down the country will be pulling out the stops to give customers a great day out, on the 18th September - are you in?"
How does the day work?
If you’re reading this as a customer...pick up the phone and book a table or room at your favourite place for September 18. Tell your friends and colleagues to do the same. Create a chain of action. Most importantly, don’t stop booking. Start thinking about all those cosy pubs with their enticing log fires, real ales and pies. Those snuggly hotel beds, to be enjoyed after a long, bracing coastal walk. Don’t let your love for hospitality end with the summer.
If you’re unable to get out and about, you can donate to any of the charities involved here.
If you’re a business, National Hospitality Day has a raft of promotional material available to help you get started promoting September 18 – from banners, to beer mats, including that vital QR code, enabling guests to give what they can.
Organisers suggest bringing dance or live music into your venue. Maybe some family-friendly activities. A pub quiz. A Q&A with a local celebrity. Could your chef come up with a special, one-time-only NHD dish?
For more than 180 years Hospitality Action has been there for chefs, waiters, housekeepers, managers, receptionists, porters - anyone and everyone working in the sector. It's very often a first port of call for these people when times are hard, supporting them with everything from physical illness and mental health issues, to financial difficulties and addiction. In 2020 the charity spent £1.36m and awarded 4,698 grants – a 106% increase in households supported. It evolved its Employee Assistance Programme, providing counselling and advice, reaching an incredible 150,000 people in 2020. And took more than 6,000 calls through its helpline (comparing to 500 in 2019).
Additionally, during the period of lockdowns, Hospitality Action put more focus on its Golden Friends scheme, to help keep loneliness and isolation at bay for industry retirees.
Before the Covid-19 outbreak, hospitality (especially in rural areas) was struggling to meet its staffing needs. Today, understaffing has become an even bigger problem. Even renowned restaurateurs such as Raymond Blanc are worried about how they’re going to serve their customers in the future. And charity Springboard is going to be intrinsic in the rebuilding of this sector. Springboard promotes the industry (alongside leisure and tourism) as a great place to work, through award-winning programmes in education settings. The charity nurtures young people into careers by giving them the knowledge, skills and guidance they need, and provides tailored support and aftercare to ensure a job in all three of these areas is sustainable.
Licensed Trade Charity (LTC)
The LTC is a lifeline for those working in hospitality, offering numerous practical services and points of contact that can make a real impact.
These include guidance and emotional support with trained counsellors, financial grants for anything from utility bills to decorating costs and disability aids, short-term hardship payments, respite breaks for carers, education grants, and telephone befriending.
The Drinks Trust
Formerly known (until March 2020) as The Benevolent, The Drinks Trust has supported those working in the drinks industry since 1886, providing holistic advice and care that enables people to thrive and succeed in their profession.
Services range from a 24/7 wellbeing and support helpline, to talking and sleep therapies, and a partnership with The Burnt Chef, with access to 30 CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) courses, mediation, legal advice, life and career coaching, financial advice and more.