Institute of Hospitality Endorses Training Programmes for the Homeless

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Providence Row bakery trainees celebrate the endorsement of their training programme by the Institute of Hospitality.

The Institute of Hospitality has endorsed training programmes that help people affected by homelessness enter the catering industry and turn their lives around.

The catering and bakery training courses are provided by Providence Row, a charity that works with more than 1,400 homeless and vulnerably housed people a year in East London, offering an integrated service of crisis support, advice, recovery and learning and training.

Peter Ducker FIH, chief executive, Institute of Hospitality, says: “Endorsement by the Institute of Hospitality demonstrates that Providence Row’s training courses meet a wide range of essential criteria and benchmarks relating to quality standards and quality learning outcomes.”

Dominic Gates, Enterprise and Training Manager, Providence Row, says:  “We’re absolutely thrilled to gain this prestigious endorsement as it’s a fantastic acknowledgement of our team’s great work offering catering and baking training to people affected by homelessness, substance misuse and mental health issues. In the last seven years, we’ve developed a traditional ‘soup kitchen’ into a supported training kitchen, offering people quality training to help them move away from homelessness and back into employment.”

Providence Row Charity has been helping vulnerable people for 160 years. It has been running the Catering Trainee Scheme for the last seven years, having worked with over 200 trainees, food designers, and nutritionists and over 20 professional chefs at Andaz Hotel Liverpool Street and other catering establishments. Providence Row has two full-time chefs with catering backgrounds. In addition, Andaz Hotel Liverpool Street provides workshops and work experience placements for trainees.

The Institute of Hospitality offers an endorsement service to training providers for the recognition of quality professional development and training.  

 

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Combustible Cladding – Advice from Pitmans Law

Grenfell_Tower_fire_morningIn the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy it is not just the landlords of high rise council tower blocks and those in the public sector who should be concerned about the presence of combustible cladding in their buildings, writes Alan Davies, partner, Pitmans Law

Landlords of hotels and indeed of all premises in the hospitality and leisure industry have a duty to ensure that their premises are safe for all persons who use them and should be proactive in the ongoing compliance with their obligations. They should check the fire safety accreditation and building regulation compliance of any panelling used in their buildings and contact their surveyors or architects for advice.

If their premises contain cladding panels which are found to contain Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) or similar materials, they may not be compliant with the requirements of current Building Regulations guidance. Samples of any such materials can be provided for verification to independent testing facilities such as The Building Research Establishment (BRE).

If the materials are non-compliant, measures would include informing the local fire and rescue service requesting they carry out an urgent inspection and checking of the most recent fire risk assessment for the buildings concerned and considering action to have the panels removed.

In addition, as a matter of good practice, full fire safety checks should be implemented including ensuring that all entrance doors, and doors that open onto escape corridors and stairways, are fire resisting and effective in self-closing. Also check all walls, plant and store rooms to ensure there are no obvious routes for fire or smoke to spread such as holes where pipes and cables pass through walls.

Smoke control systems, including associated fire detection and suppression systems (including sufficient and appropriate fire extinguishers) should be tested to make sure they are operating correctly and if there is no sprinkler system, landlords are recommended to take advice on installation.

Contact:
Alan Davis

Partner, for and on behalf of Pitmans LLP
D +44 (0)118 957 0300
M +44 (0)788 182 5803
Email: alandavies@pitmans.com
www.pitmans.com

Pitmans Law is a Businesss Partner of the Institute of Hospitality

The Hospitality Pandemic – Are You Infected?

giles-g-s-for-iohThis blog comes from one of our newest members, Giles Gordon-Smith AIH, a former hotel inspector and manager at The Goring who now runs his own customer service consultancy Penshee. Giles is blogging on The Huffington Post, where the following first appeared.

Everything seemed to be going so well, and then it happened again. “ENJOY”. Nothing with it, other than perhaps an exclamation mark – “ENJOY!”. You’ve heard it too, right? You must have done, it’s everywhere; from London to LA and back again the long way around, that word echoes through our industry.

I know by now to try to block it out but occasionally one slips through the net like a cardamom pod in a biryani – Whack! ENJOY! Don’t let the Michelin star and the immaculately groomed waiter fool you either, a Swiss sommelier once hit me with one after decanting a rather fine bottle of claret and telling us a wonderful story about the owner of the house (who used to sit on table three). I nosed and tasted the perfectly poured measure and then he got me. “ENJOY!”

This was another good one – I was in a hotel in Istanbul and I’d asked for some shampoo to be sent to the room. The delivery interaction went something like this:

Friendly attendant: Good evening Mr. Gordon-Smith, I have the shampoo that you requested.
Me: Thank you, that’s kind.
Friendly attendant: Enjoy!

What? How? Okay, it was good shampoo and it left a pleasant scent of lime groves, but really. I even used to count them – fourteen ‘enjoys’ in a meal was the record (I won’t name and shame the hotel). Can a verbal tick be contagious, or worse still, pandemic? I get that it’s an easy thing to say and, your supervisor does it and it’s better than silence, but please, think about stopping.

It’s indicative of something bigger

Okay, I’m being playful, but actually I think that this innocuous and essentially well-meaning five letter word is reflective of something larger. Oh, and here’s my confession; I used to use it too. I wasn’t really even aware, but I did. It was only when it was pointed out to me by none other than my mother, that I started to realise the abandon with which I used the word.

Habitual behaviour can be a positive in hospitality; you need it to be prepared on a daily basis and to deliver service according to the expected rigorous standards. However, becoming too rehearsed by nature can have a negative effect. Repeatedly using terms such as ‘enjoy’ is reflective of a roboticism in the industry that is getting in the way of natural service. Variations include the over-use of affirmations such as ‘you’re welcome’ and ‘that’s fine’ (I should hope that it’s fine to ask for a menu) and superlatives such as ‘wonderful’ and ‘absolutely’ – especially bothersome when taken out of context and not relating to what you have just said as a guest. It also demonstrates lack of thought and a certain ‘presenteeism’ – being there, but going through the motions.

Am I Infected?

Given that I was unaware that I was using the term so much, perhaps you are too? Maybe you have your own verbal tick? The fact that you are now asking the question is a good start; after all, self-awareness is hugely important when trying to improve the way that we interact with guests, friends and colleagues.

If the answer is yes, what do we do about it?

The problem is that me telling you what to say as an alternative is paradoxical and so I’m not going to do that. What I would urge instead is to think. Look to be present in the moment when you are serving guests and where possible, make your comment relevant to what’s gone before in your interactions. By way of a compromise and to wean yourself off the shortened version, you could even revert to the fuller version “I hope you enjoy your scallops madam”, but don’t say it if you don’t mean it. As always, look to make eye contact and listen to the guest, and if they thank you for the dish, there’s your opportunity to respond in kind. This might sound like extraordinarily elementary advice, but take it from somebody who has been lucky enough to have had thousands of fine dining experiences around the world – it’s advice that’s needed. Your guests want to feel understood and appreciated, and you simply cannot do that by adopting a ‘one phrase fits all’ service mentality. Enj… Good luck.

Follow Giles Gordon-Smith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gilesatpenshee

 

 

 

Drop a dime on food crime with the FSA’s Food Crime Confidential

Do you suspect a business of dishonesty involving food, drink or animal feed? The NEW Food Crime Confidential is a reporting facility where anyone with suspicions about food crime can report them safely and in confidence, over the phone or through email.

Food Crime Confidential is overseen by the Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU), which works with partners to protect consumers from serious criminal activity that impacts on the safety or authenticity of the food and drink they consume.

The facility is particularly targeted at those working in or around the UK food industry. Employees of the hospitality industry are well-placed to provide information which could help the NFCU identify and pursue offenders.

The National Food Crime Unit would like to hear from anyone who has suspicions:

  • that food or drink contains things which it shouldn’t
  • that methods used in your workplace for producing, processing, storing, labelling or transporting food do not seem quite right
  • that an item of food or drink says it is of a certain quality or from a specific place or region, but it doesn’t appear to be.FoodCrimeConfidential

‘Drop a dime’ on suspicious activities: call 0207 276 8787 or email foodcrime@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Anti-terrorist lessons for hospitality managers

Understanding how to Run, Hide and Tell could save lives
Understanding how to Run, Hide and Tell could save lives

Terrorist attacks on ‘soft targets’ such as restaurants, hotels and resorts in Paris, Mali and the Côte d’Ivoire are a stark reminder to the hospitality industry about the need for a regularly reviewed security policy, a business continuity plan and for well-trained staff.

In a recent Institute of Hospitality Insight article, academic and risk expert Alexandros Paraskevas highlighted four key areas in which hospitality organisations and their staff can build their baseline security and anti-terrorism measures.

The key points are:

  • Counter-surveillance
  • Protective measures
  • Active shooter and hostage situation survival
  • Radicalisation (awareness of)

Members of the Institute can access the full article in the February 2016 Insight e-Newsletter in our Publications section of the website.

In the meantime, managers can refer to helpful free resources like NaCTSO’s Stay Safe firearms and weapons attack training materials, which can help managers, staff and the public in learning how to survive a weapons attack. The materials describe what to do during an event to ensure the safety of oneself and others, how and when to alert authorities and how to get to safety.

Attacks on soft targets, like hotels, resorts and concert halls, show that managers in hospitality should continue their good practice when it comes to security but they should also revise their security to mitigate an attack with counter-surveillance and measures aimed at dealing with specific patterns of assault that include active shooters and hostage situations.

Alexandros Paraskevas is professor of strategic risk management and chair in hospitality management at the University of West London

Proposals for a #sugartax in hospitals appear muddled says our CEO

Proposals for a sugar tax in hospitals appear muddled, writes Peter Ducker, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality.

For detailed information on the impact of sugar in our diets, visit Action on Sugar
For detailed information on the impact of sugar in our diets, visit Action on Sugar

Whilst we are free to ignore products high in salt, sugar or unhealthy fats, problems can occur when there isn’t an alternative. When the vending machine offers just sugary drinks, or the ready-to-eat food in the high street is limited to fried chicken or fatty burgers, then it becomes harder to view obesity as a solely self-inflicted condition.

Most people believe that the public sector have a greater responsibility to set an example. Opinion polls supported the 2014 ban on the sale of sugary drinks and snacks in state-run schools. Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, has pledged to introduce a sugar tax across hospitals. The expected proceeds of £20m-£40m a year would be used “to improve the health of the NHS’s own 1.3m workers.”

But the proposal seems to pull in opposite directions by seeking to reduce sugar consumption (as part of the fight against obesity) and also raise revenue.

Read what Peter Ducker, the Institute of Hospitality’s Chief Executive, has to say about these conflicting statements along with potential resolutions to this issue.

Win customers with top food hygiene ratings

Get support and information to help your business meet food hygiene standards
Get support and information to help your business meet food hygiene standards

I’ll admit it…I do base my dining decisions on a restaurant’s food hygiene rating in its window. My behaviour as a consumer means the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is an increasingly important consumer tool – perhaps more than restaurateurs realise. The scheme helps consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving them information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, takeaways and food shops. In Scotland, a similar programme is run by Food Standards Scotland where the hygiene scheme is called the Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS).

In partnership with local authorities, the Food Service Authority operates the FHRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the FHIS in Scotland. The schemes encourage businesses to improve hygiene standards because up to a third of the population could contract food poisoning from campylobacter, the most common cause of food poisoning. In addition, foodborne illnesses such as E. coli can be fatal. Who wants to risk their own health or that of their family or friends for a takeaway from a business that isn’t compliant with hygiene regulations?

The FHRS is now running in all areas of Wales and Northern Ireland and in 99% of England meaning more restaurants and foodservice businesses will be in the hygiene spotlight for their winning ratings or substandard hygiene. To ensure your business is one of the winners, find out more about the FHRS and the FHIS at: Food Hygiene Ratings.