At the start of this year we launched our very first podcast series, Recipes for Success; a selection of in person guest interviews with key players from across the hospitality industry. Our aim? To delve into real life stories and experiences from across the world of hospitality to provide perspective and inspire change.
As host of these podcasts, I’ve been privileged to interview inspiring experts in the hospitality industry, from industry veterans with vast numbers of years in the sector, to up and coming trailblazers and entrepreneurs. In each conversation we cover a range of topics and real-life stories - all relevant to businesses today. So far I've observed seven common themes.
Those who dedicate their careers to hospitality exude a passion for the industry that fuels their drive to innovate and succeed, even in the face of challenges and setbacks. This relentless passion sets them apart and inspires others to follow in their footsteps. It is clear that hospitality is a vocation, and those who actively join and transition through the sector remain in it, displaying a relentless passion for serving others and delivering outstanding service – often through the toughest of times.
A misunderstood career
The external perception of working in hospitality is often very different from the reality experienced by many. There is also a clear lack of respect for the UK hospitality and services sector, with many outside of the industry considering it a career of last resort. Conversely, a career in hospitality can provide key life skills as well as an amazing path for personal and professional growth and success. Encouragingly, our podcast guests believe this misunderstanding presents an opportunity to help reshape the future of our industry.
Resilience and community
The resilience of those who work in hospitality is second to none and this has been pointed out time and again though our podcasts. The ability to balance flexibility with constant change in the face of uncertainty – and still remain motivated to provide exceptional services, is something to be admired. This can be attributed to the strong community spirit and the importance of collaboration and sharing best practices. Hospitality has also demonstrated it is more open to learning from others when it comes to surviving and thriving.
Another core theme that has been mentioned during the recent discussions is the importance of diversity in hospitality. Businesses with strong people strategies that place diversity and inclusivity at their core are the ones that are best placed to thrive and innovate. Introducing different cultures and perspectives to a team equips them to think differently, improve decision-making, and leads to more optimal outcomes.
Quality over quantity
Perhaps one of the most important recurring themes, is that ‘people pay for an experience’. To ensure this, companies should prioritise investing in high-quality ingredients and providing exceptional service. In creating memorable experiences for their customers, they will attract more customers as well as help retain them in the long run. This is especially important in light of rising costs and people shortages. The power of hospitality is in the details of the experience. The emphasis and advice seem to be on fewer but higher quality ingredients to create flavoursome food, a warm greeting at the door, all delivered with a front of house service that is second to none. The power of hospitality is all in the detail.
Technology has a place
Something interesting that has come out of our podcast discussions on several occasions is that hospitality will never be ‘people free’ - nor should it be. Technology in hospitality is not about replacing people, but rather enabling those at the heart of the business to work smarter, not harder. There is a market for tech such as robot waiters, but it is a niche market. The best technology application in hospitality is designed to make people's working roles more impactful, reduce the burden of admin and paperwork, and automate mundane tasks. By using technology to streamline operations, businesses can create a more efficient and enjoyable work environment for their employees while also delivering a better experience for their customers, leading to increased revenue and profitability for the business.
It's all about the who, not the what
Last, but not least, is the affirmation that people are the heart of hospitality. Almost every guest I’ve interviewed emphasised the need to put your people first – before everything else. And it is not just about the cost, even though the cost of replacing people is far higher than the cost of keeping them – on board, on side and happy. It is more than that; your people are the heart of hospitality, and it is important to invest in their development and well-being to retain them and create a positive work environment. This requires effective, strong leadership.
In sum, in the first half of our first season of podcasts, we’ve seen a variety of discussions and common themes in the catering and hospitality sector, which has inspired and shared best practices and knowledge.
These podcasts are clearly the tip of the iceberg and I feel we are only getting started! Our first season of Recipes for Success runs all the way up to the summer holidays and we’ve some great guests lined up. We’re also working on our autumn season. If you are interested in taking part, or would like to suggest potential guests please do get in touch!
Missed any podcasts so far? Here are some directory quick links: