Viewpoint: A new year's resolution

03 January 2018 by
Viewpoint: A new year's resolution

There are high and lows in all areas of the hospitality sector, but there's no point getting worked up about it, says Peter Hancock

And my goodness, what a lot of opinions there are. A cursory glance at Twitter reveals, depending upon whom you follow, reactions to world events ranging from mild panic to murderous outrage. The great Spectator columnist Rory Sutherland once said that all the trillions of words swilling around the ether on social media can be summarised as "look at me", "isn't it terrible" and "get stuffed". I cleaned up that last one for The Caterer readers, by the way.

I think he's right. I have noticed that a great deal of the comment from the hospitality industry in particular falls into the "isn't it terrible" category. Much of this discourse is simply bemoaning things outside of our control - an exercise so pointless that it's on a par with complaining about a lack of daylight after 6pm or the plummeting temperatures that accompany the onset of a British winter.

Some things may indeed be terrible, but if it's impossible to change them, then let's focus on what we can do to mitigate their effects, such as inventing electric lights and producing warm clothes, rather than wasting energy getting cross about them.

The same applies to any of the myriad challenges our industry has been tested with: labour shortages, recessions, extortionate commissions, unfair TripAdvisor reviews, rising business rates, fickle guests. If your business has survived through these crises, you have clearly found your own solutions, perhaps by simply doing things better than your competitors. I have noticed that successful operators moan very little in comparison to their less fortunate counterparts, preferring to channel their energy into finding ways around problems. A splendid example can be seen at the Stafford in London, where general manager Stuart Procter is proud to have several people in his front of house team earning well above £40,000. Staff retention is high and customers appreciate being recognised year after year - a phenomenon replicated at many of the places I am lucky enough to visit.

No doubt the upcoming year will bring even more troubles. For some they will spell bankruptcy or redundancy… or worse. Even in good times the failure rate for standalone restaurants is shocking and luxury hotels have monstrous appetites for reinvestment. But for most of this magazine's readers, I suspect each challenge will spark a new idea that keeps them ahead of the game.

Good luck and best wishes from an admiring observer.

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking