Bar owner calls for hospitality to take part in Equal Measures anti-racism campaign
Deano Moncrieffe, director of Hacha bar in London's Dalston, is launching the Equal Measures campaign this month to improve diversity and tackle racism in the hospitality industry.
"There was a bit of casual racism thrown in my direction while I was at work and I just thought, this keeps happening, and I keep seeing these things happen," he said, speaking to The Caterer.
"I thought, ‘something needs to be done here'. We need to work a lot harder to make sure that within the industry there's a bit more education.
"What I want to do with this is highlight why diversity and inclusion and having people of colour represented in all different parts of hospitality will only be better for the hospitality industry."
Moncrieffe said that he had experienced racism during his career, including being singled out as the only Black attendee at a 100-person conference, when a picture of rapper Kanye West appeared on a screen and someone shouted, "It's Deano". And on a team night out while playing snooker, he said a colleague told him:"Remember, that's not a spear, that's a snooker cue."
He said: "Even your closest colleagues don't know how to react when something like that happens. That's where the education is important."
Moncrieffe, who also previously worked for drinks company Diageo for 10 years, will be funding the platform himself, which will seek to educate people from across the sector about racism, as he points out it's not an issue exclusive to the on-trade.
Phase one of Equal Measures will involve group discussions over the next three months with a broad cross-section of people in the industry about what can be done better. These discussions will inform the third phase of education.
Phase two will be launched in October to coincide with Black History Month and will focus on the on-trade. Moncrieffe hopes to get as many as 300 bars to run a special cocktail of the month inspired by and highlighting a person of colour who has made a positive impact on society.
Phase three, launching in 2021, will be informed by phase one and focus on education, such as engaging with catering colleges and running events looking at how hospitality can improve its diversity.
Moncrieffe will also be asking companies to be more transparent about their diversity and inclusion policies. He said: "As a hospitality industry, how much are we doing to speak to people from different ethnic minorities and backgrounds and people of colour? How much are we doing to represent them?
"All of the big hotel chains will have diversity and inclusion policies – but who is it written by, is it written by a diverse group of individuals? How are you measuring the success of it and what steps are you taking to make it even more successful?"
He added: "And what steps are you taking to make sure that, if you do only have two people of colour, they feel completely safe and secure in the knowledge that if they do ever have any issues, they can talk to someone openly and have the backing of their team and colleagues?"
He urged hospitality workers, business owners and brand ambassadors to get involved as partnerships will be essential to the success of Equal Measures.
"It's not something I can do on my own. I'm going to need the help of people who are passionate about equality to be able to push positive change," he said. "I don't want people to feel so completely isolated as I have done at times."
Operators who are interested in getting involved can contact Moncrieffe through his Instagram @dondeanomoncrieffe, with more details due to be published on the Equal Measures website when it goes live.