The latest edition of the Institute’s unique quarterly magazine is now available (Members automatically receive their complimentary copy in the post). Find out how to deal with a boycott or choose the best take-away partner for your business. Meet the female managers getting noticed in the Middle East and discover the fascinating career paths of a whole host of members and fellows. Here are a few tasters of what’s inside…
“Go East Young Woman”
There is a new boss at the helm of the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM) in Dubai. For nearly 20 years, this leading hospitality management school which delivers Institute of Hospitality-accredited degrees, was run by Ron Hilvert. The new managing director is Judy Hou who is quite rightly attracting a lot of attention. Hou is highly visible for a number of reasons. For a start, men greatly outnumber women in the United Arab Emirates (the female population is just 26%), and the Middle East has some of the lowest numbers of female managers in the world, ranging from 10% in the UAE to 6.8% in Qatar ( compared to 42.7% in the US and 34.2% in the UK). The main reason, however, is Hou herself. A mother and a yoga-devotee, her world-conquering CV speaks volumes about her passion for education and her drive.
How to deal with a boycott
Hospitality operators need to open the channels of communication with lobbying groups, says Emily Tippins, head of strategy & communications at Journey, the hotel marketing agency. “The use of foie gras is a divisive topic, but again, consumer pressure to re-think long-standing traditions doesn’t escape anyone, including iconic brands Fortnum & Mason and Harrods. Both have been in the press recently following demands to withdraw sales of the controversial product from their food halls. With social media creating a direct link between brands and consumers, no one is immune to demands for change. Brands that seek to innovate and respond to calls for change will often prevail in a crowded marketplace where standing still or ignoring shifts in the social milieu is effectively commercial suicide.”
Stand and deliver
While consumer demand for convenience shows no sign of waning, the food delivery market is one that’s posing more questions than it’s answering for hospitality operators at present. How do the economics work? Is one delivery model better than another? Who will succeed and who will fail? Is the demand for delivery set to disrupt the foodservice industry beyond recognition? What’s next? It’s certainly not the right course for every operator, according to hospitality consultant Bob Puccini: “Despite its growing popularity, restaurants need to consider whether their cuisine and concept are delivery-appropriate before entering the space,” he advises. “While the opportunity for additional revenue sources is attractive, the reputation of the restaurant will suffer greatly if the experience can’t hold up.”