Green Earth Appeal and Lightspeed ePOS host Carbon Free Dining event

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Lightspeed ePOS and Green Earth Appeal have partnered to host the first event for Carbon Free Dining, a ground-breaking initiative aimed at introducing a more sustainable model for UK restaurants.

Under the programme, Carbon Free Dining plants a tree on behalf of a restaurant for every bill they present. Lightspeed ePOS then provides their platform to any restaurant under the initiative, subject to the number of trees a restaurant plants.

The initiative is already revolutionising the way local businesses and their customers give back to the environment in the fight against deforestation, extinction and global warming, having planted over 500,000 trees in more than 17 countries.

It has received support from three-Michelin star celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, James Martin and Gregory Marchand, who have since signed up their respective restaurants to Carbon Free Dining.

As part of the launch, Lightspeed and Green Earth Appeal are inviting the hospitality industry to Haz restaurant, East London, on 19th June, for an event focusing on how to create a sustainable restaurant model that will increase profitability by responding to the needs of today’s consumer. Members of the panel include Peter Hemingway, influencer and community manager at the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), and Sandy Jarvis, sustainability advocate and Head chef of the renowned Culpeper restaurant in Shoreditch.

Lightspeed ePOS and Green Earth Appeal provide a cost-effective way for restaurants to showcase their corporate social responsibility at zero cost to the business.

Satinder Bindra, former director of communications for United Nations Environment, has been a strong advocate of the collaboration, stating, “[This is] an outstanding initiative which successfully merges the luxury of eating out with the joy of knowing we are simultaneously giving something back to nourish our planet”.

 Similarly, CEO and Founder of Lightspeed Dax Dasilva has also commented that, “Lightspeed was founded on pushing boundaries, empowering business and putting culture before code. By defining a new paradigm, we are redefining the industry. Carbon Free Dining is just one more step towards offering our ePOS partners and their customers a seamless way to achieve their own goals”.

 Register here for your free ticket here.

About Carbon Free Dining
Carbon Free Dining is a ground-breaking environmental certification programme managed by The United Nations Environment partner, Green Earth Appeal in partnership with Lightspeed. Simple to implement, Carbon Free Dining offers certification to those restaurants who demonstrate their passion for the environment. Carbon Free Dining-certified partners empower their diners to plant a tree in the developing world to counterbalance the environmental impact of their meal.
Learn more

About Lightspeed ePOS
Lightspeed ePOS is a cloud-based solution for independent restaurants and a Business Partner of the Institute of Hospitality.
Learn more

 

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The positive impact of the Royal Wedding by Neel Radia FIH, national chair, National Association of Care Catering (NACC)

Neel Radia image“The nation is gripped with Royal Wedding fever, as we prepare to celebrate the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The NACC’s members are certainly no exception. We’ve heard from care caterers and chefs up and down the country who are putting in a tremendous amount of effort to ensure that their residents enjoy a Royal Wedding experience to remember.

As with most celebrations, food is playing a leading role. Our members are using their expertise in creating delicious, nutritious meals, suitable for a care setting, to give the elderly and vulnerable they care for a real treat.

Indoor and outdoor festivities include, for example, coverage of the wedding on televisions and large screens, street parties, wedding buffets, wedding breakfasts, Afternoon Teas and BBQs, all featuring carefully-planned, mouth-watering menus, plus beautiful lemon and elderflower cakes to match the famous couple’s wedding cake of choice.

Residents will be involved in the preparations, helping decorate venues and cupcakes, making their own fascinators and being invited to dress in their finest attire for the big day. They will also enjoy music, entertainment, quizzes, dancing, and one care home has even reported that their wedding breakfast will include life-size cardboard cut-outs of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle themselves!

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As well as enjoying delicious food, residents will benefit emotionally and socially. The Royal Wedding provides a fantastic opportunity for them to socialise with fellow residents, staff and visiting relatives and community members. I’m sure the parties will be an enthusiastic subject of conversation in the build-up to the main event and for some time after. The celebrations could also, importantly, help evoke fond memories of their own weddings and family occasions, as well as Royal Weddings of the past. I’m sure some residents will have seen many a Royal Wedding over their lifetimes, including that of Her Majesty The Queen herself!

The NACC sends the Royal couple many congratulations on their wedding day and we wish our members and their residents a wonderful weekend of festivities.”

Emirati and Italian Architects win Second Annual Bespoke Access Award to Champion Accessible Hospitality

Robin Sheppard, Baroness Celia Thomas, Maher Hadid (MnM Studio Architects)web res
Robin Sheppard, Baroness Celia Thomas, Maher Hadid (MnM Studio Architects)

At the second annual special event held at the Palace of Westminster on April 18th, MnM Studio Architects, along with Maria Brighenti and Marcello D’Orsi, were announced the joint winners of the 2017/18 Bespoke Access Awards, a design competition to create accessible solutions, run in association with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and featuring a prize fund of £30,000.

MnM Studio devised an innovative accommodation solution based around the four senses of smell, taste, sound and sight, with extensive use of Braille throughout. Termed “empathy through aesthetics”, the system aims to support the emotional state of the guest, while maintaining a distinct visual appeal via a stylish, curved design.

“’Empathy through aesthetics’ perfectly encapsulates what we are aiming to do with the Access initiative”, commented Baroness Celia Thomas, Chair of the Judging Panel and Patron of the Awards. “The emphasis placed on the emotional state of the guest was particularly impressive, given this is an area that is often overlooked.”

Alongside MnM Studio, freelance Italian architects Maria Brightei and Marcello D’Orsi were successful in the Architectural category, as well as being announced joint winners of the overall Celia Thomas Prize, worth a total of £20,000. Their design, which focused on the means through which existing accommodation can be renovated with the disabled traveler in mind, concentrated on the public spaces of hotels, and how subtle enhancements can be made to significantly increase the ease with which they are passed through.

Robin Sheppard, Baroness Celia Thomas, Marcello D'Orsi web res
Robin Sheppard, Baroness Celia Thomas, Marcello D’Orsi

“I was particularly struck by the attention they had paid to the customer journey through reception and the lobby areas”, commented Alan Stanton, Stirling Prize-winning architect and member of the Judging Panel. “These are areas often overlooked by both architects and business owners alike, and it is easy to think of them as merely transient. But they can significantly improve or disrupt a guest’s experience, so it was exciting to see them highlighted and approached with such care.”

“The architectural community across the country has really embraced the Access Awards since their launch in 2016”, added Jane Duncan, RIBA Immediate Past President. “It is tremendously encouraging for the future of accessible tourism to see this year’s awards attracting interest from around the world, as well as ideas shining a light on some of the more often-overlooked aspects of disabled travel.”

The competition attracted submissions spanning the length and breadth of the UK, as well as from across Europe and Asia. Entrants competed across an expanded range of categories, including Product Design, Architecture, Service Applications (Digital) and Service Applications (Training). Alongside the overall Celia Thomas Prize, worth £20,000 and believed to be the largest cash prize in the UK for a design concept.

“We were extremely pleased to see the competition attracting a truly global roster of entrants this year”, said Robin Sheppard FIH, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels and recently appointed Hotel Sector Champion for Disabled People. “The Access Awards continue to grow and evolve, but the high quality of entries ensures our collective focus remains on improving the experience for all hotel guests, whether disabled or otherwise.”

The entries were judged at the turn of the year by a panel which included Paralympic gold medalist Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Stirling Prize-winning architect Alan Stanton, Baroness Celia Thomas, Tom Perry, Head of the Cities Programme at the Design Council, Graeme Whippy, Disability Specialist for Channel Four, Alastair Hignell CBE, alongside Robin Sheppard.

Full list of winners:
MnM Studio Architects, Dubai
Joint Winners of the Celia Thomas Prize

Maria Brighenti with Marcello D’Orsi, Italy
Joint Winners of the Celia Thomas Prize

MnM Studio Architects, Dubai
Joint Winners of the Architecture Category

Maria Brighenti with Marcello D’Orsi, Italy
Joint Winners of the Architecture Category

Wilson Mason LLP, Lancashire
Winners of the Product Design Category

Purcell, London
Winners of the Service Applications (Training) Category

Neatebox Ltd, London
Winners of Service Applications (Digital) Category

Full list of judges:
Robin Sheppard, Chairman, Bespoke Hotels Group
Celia, Baroness Thomas of Winchester, House of Lords
Alan Stanton OBE, Stanton Williams
Tanni, Baroness Grey-Thompson, Paralympic Gold Medallist, House of Lords
Graeme K Whippy MBE, Disability Specialist for Channel 4
Alastair Hignall CBE, Trustee of the Leonard Cheshire Foundation
Tom Perry, Head of the Cities Programme at the Design Council
Sarah Weir OBE, Chief Executive of Design Council
Paul Gregory, MCIBSE, MSLL, Global Specification Director for Dyson.

www.bespokehotels.com/access
#BespokeAccess

Gender balanced management teams make for safer and more engaged employees, Sodexo study finds

Sodexo GenderBalanceStudyInfographic

Study of 50,000 Sodexo employees finds teams with gender diversity achieve better results across the board

International services company Sodexo has found teams managed by a balanced mix of men and women are more successful across a range of measurements including employee engagement and health and safety.

The five-year study of 70 Sodexo entities across different functions represents 50,000 managers worldwide and tested the performance implications of gender-inclusive work culture. The study examined women across all levels of management – not just upper-level leadership positions – in order to investigate the “pipeline” that will ultimately affect gender balance at the top tier of businesses.

Sodexo’s study found that non-financial factors can also significantly benefit from a more equally structured leadership, with benefits including;

Gender-balanced management reported an employee engagement rate that was 14 percentage points higher than other entities

Gender-balanced entities saw the number of accidents decrease by 12 percentage points more than other entities.

Gender-balanced entities had an average client retention rate that was 9 percentage points higher than other entities.

Gender-balanced entities had an average employee retention rate that was 8 percentage points higher than other entities

Operating margins significantly increased among more gender-balanced teams than other teams.

The pattern of results indicated that a near-equal balance of men and women in management was critical to observing gains in financial and non-financial KPIs. Once the proportion of women in management exceeded 60%, the benefits plateaued, confirming that a mix between 40% and 60% is necessary for optimal performance.

Analysts also found a direct correlation between the percentage of women in the total workforce and those in management, indicating gender-balanced workforces and leadership create an environment supportive of career growth for women. This lends support to the idea that gender parity in top leadership is closely related to the pipeline of women in the workforce.

Sodexo, already a leader in diversity & inclusion, is breaking new ground in gender parity. Today, women represent 50% of its board. Thirty-two percent of senior leadership positions are held by women globally – a 6% increase at the very top levels since 2013.

Middle management and site management positions are balanced at 46%. Currently, 59% of the total workforce works within gender-balanced management.

The Sodexo Gender Balance Study originated in 2014 with Sodexo’s desire to improve its gender parity in leadership throughout the management of its 425,000 global workforce and to expand previous outside research on gender parity in the workplace.

The full report can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/2tmBIbm

 

 

35 of UK’s Top 100 restaurant groups now loss-making – up 75% in just a year

  • Oversaturated market, minimum wage hike put pressure on restaurants
  • Another minimum wage rise just weeks away

35 of the UK’s Top 100 restaurant groups are now loss-making, up 75% from just 20 last year, shows research by UHY Hacker Young, the national accountancy group.
UHY Hacker Young says that trading conditions have become increasingly difficult for restaurant chains dealing with oversaturation in the market as well as rising costs.
The firm adds that this research comes on the back of the high-profile struggles of several major restaurant chains in recent weeks, including:

  • Jamie’s Italian, started by Jamie Oliver, which has closed 12 branches as part of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) to restructure its £71.5m debt
  • Byron, the burger chain, which may close up to 20 of its 67 branches following a period of paying reduced rent
  • Prezzo, the Italian chain, which is expected to close some of its 300 branches as part of a restructuring
  • Strada, another Italian chain, which closed 11 branches over the festive period
  • Barbecoa, another Jamie Oliver chain, which entered administration in mid-February
  • EAT, the sandwich chain, which was rumoured in early February to be considering closing some of its 100 branches

UHY Hacker Young says that pressures of competing with numerous similar ‘fast casual’ restaurants in an overcrowded high street are a major driver of many large restaurant groups registering losses over the past year.

It adds that the National Minimum wage, which has risen by an above-inflation 19% to £7.50 per hour over the last five years, has added a substantial cost burden to large restaurant chains. From April 2018, the minimum wage will rise even further to £7.83.

Peter Kubik, Partner at UHY Hacker Young, comments: “More than a third of the biggest companies in the restaurant sector are losing money, and there is little respite on the horizon.”

“Pressures on the restaurant sector have been building for years, and the last year has pushed a number of major groups to breaking point.”

“With Brexit hanging over consumers like a dark cloud, restaurants can’t expect a bailout from a surge in discretionary spending.”

“Consumers only have a finite amount of spending power when it comes to eating out, and the oversaturation of the market means that groups that fall foul of changing trends can very easily fail.”

“The Government has ratcheted up costs with a series of above-inflation rises in the minimum wage, and we are just weeks away from another 4.4% rise in April. That will be tough for a lot of restaurants to absorb.”

About UHY Hacker Young:

 The UHY Hacker Young Group is one of the UK’s Top 15 accountancy networks with 110 partners and more than 620 professional staff working from 22 locations around the country. The offices within the Group provide a wide range of accounting, tax and business advisory services, with a reputation for integrity and reliability within the financial community, and particularly with London’s Stock Markets. UHY Hacker Young are also ranked 15th in the ARL Corporate Advisers Rankings Guide amongst other UK audit firms for advising London Stock Exchange listed companies.

UHY Hacker Young is a founder member of the UHY International network with offices in every major financial centre in the world. Further information can be found at www.uhy-uk.com

 

How restaurants are reacting to Vegetarian Month

March is vegetarian month. Recent news shows that an estimated 29% of evening meals in the UK are vegetarian or vegan. These numbers only seem to be increasing, but just how is the hospitality industry reacting? Wayne Redge reports

Reports show that sales of meat-free ready meals were up by 15% in January compared to 12 months before. Vegan numbers went up from 150,000 in 2006 to 540,000 just a decade later, with 1.2 million vegetarians in addition to this in the UK. Not only that, but there has been an uprising of ‘flexitarians’, those who reduce their meat consumption by choosing to have meat-free days. As a result, evidence shows that 25% of people in Britain have cut back on how much meat they eat. With all of these figures on the rise, the transitions to a meat-free way of living aren’t just a ‘fad’.

Signs of the hospitality industry acknowledging these statistics has come with many different reactions. Nando’s, the Afro-Portuguese chain restaurant known for its chicken, has been consistently adding to its range of vegetarian and vegan options over the past few years. The spiced chicken giant has now announced that two more vegetarian dishes will be added to its menu: golden brown halloumi sticks served with a pot of sweet chilli jam dip to start, alongside a new main of Veggie Cataplana (a South African inspired stew dish.)

A host of vegetarian restaurants are also popping up, giving people who have adopted this lifestyle a lot more options. Run by former mentee of Gordon Ramsay, Minal Patel, “Prashad” is a 2 rosette and Bib Gourmand standard Indian cuisine restaurant. The personalised and crafted menu boards created by Smart Hospitality encase an all vegetarian menu that has been the talk of popular review site, Trip Advisor, since the restaurant opened its doors. Receiving the “Most Talked About Restaurant On Trip Advisor Award” and a “Certificate of Excellence” on the site, it is proof of the popularity that a vegetarian restaurant can receive by focusing its efforts towards a collective audience.

January of this year saw a mass of high-profile restaurants trying out full vegan menus or dishes for ‘Veganuary’. Harvey Nichols brought a full vegan menu to its OXO Tower restaurant in the shape of a three course vegan meal and vegan wine list. Upon opening their menu cover, guests were welcomed by the sights of Grilled Tofu with Miso and a Poached Pear and Blackberry Dessert.

tom-aitken-vegan-burger

Even Michelin Star chef, Tom Aitken took part in his Tom’s Kitchen restaurant . Teaming up with vegetarian burger company, The Vurger Co, he served up a hoisin glazed mushroom patty with pak choi, red cabbage and crunchy spring onions ( pictured above). Due to the success of this vegan burger, he has adopted a vegetarian burger to his main menu since then.

The amount of vegan festivals has seen a massive increase too, with at least 75 festivals lined up for 2018 in the UK alone. The festivals are a celebration of the natural lifestyle whilst also introducing its participants to new vegan restaurants and foods that they may not have tried before. Restaurants are creating pop ups at these events to promote themselves to the vegan following and gain some new supporters.

So, with the popularity of no-meat lifestyles on the rise, it is clear that restaurants have an opportunity to increase their offerings and enable themselves to appeal to a wider clientele. If 25% of evening meals being eaten are meat free, would restaurants do well to make 25% of their offerings meat free? It might even serve as a cost effective alternative whilst not compromising on quality.

Wayne Redge is marketing assistant, Smart Hospitality Supplies

Quotas for female managers?

On International Women’s Day (8 March), Serena von der Heyde FIH MI makes the case for affirmative action to achieve greater diversity in the boardrooms of the hospitality industry19 Serena von der Hyde FIH

Like a lot of people, I don’t like quotas – I don’t think they are fair – but recently I have started to think again. Nearly 60% of the UK workforce in our industry are women yet only just over 20% of our managers are women, and these figures have been almost static for more than 20 years.  We know that businesses with more women leaders are more successful and more profitable, so why aren’t companies rushing to develop and promote them?  The benefits of diversity are proven, but still progress in achieving diversity is glacially slow.

We want a fair workplace for our young women and men, and optimum performance for our businesses, and yet a compelling business case has failed to bring about change; then should we consider quotas?

Quotas have been shown to get results, and fast.  They have been used across Europe to promote women in politics and business since Norway started in 2003.  Many countries including Iceland, France, Spain and now Germany have followed suit, and the numbers of board-level women have risen in those countries. What’s more, there is some evidence that where quotas have been in use for some time, diversity becomes self-fulfilling. The culture and infrastructure has changed to the extent that women and men are coming through to leadership levels in equal numbers. In Belgium, the quota system states that both sexes must be represented for applications for roles in politics, and recently it is male applicants that have been hard to recruit. For quotas to work, they need to come with strict repercussions. In France, businesses were threatened with de-regulation if they failed to meet quotas. In Spain there were no sanctions for not meeting quotas, and as a result Spain has been far less successful. Quotas without teeth are ineffective.

One of the main arguments against quotas is that they prevent promotion on merit. We want the best leaders for our businesses regardless of gender. But I challenge the notion that our meritocracy is working. If it was, wouldn’t we already have more women leaders? The truth is that our societal and cultural background is failing to provide a level playing field for our aspiring women leaders.  More women than men are graduating from our universities, and, on average, women have better grade degrees, but still we overlook their talents.  It is becoming clear that we have to learn diversity – it takes time for a culture to genuinely believe in the value of diversity, and then to implement processes that nurture it.

There is a difference between quotas and targets, in terms of delivering change; quotas enforce where targets incentivise. Personally, I believe that people learn better and change more when they can set their own agenda. Every business will have different issues affecting diversity, and real change is most effective when a strategy is developed specifically by the team for that business.  When regulations are imposed, teams spend half their efforts working on strategies to sidestep the new rules, and quotas can result in alienating the team.

For my own business, where we need to develop male leaders to ensure diversity, I will be:

  • Ensuring full and ongoing commitment to diversity from the leadership
  • Leading the development of our diversity strategy and targets
  • Publishing gender pay differences, and recording gender balance across the team and our leadership team

This type of approach gives businesses time to develop a pipeline of talented women (or in our case men), so that they can make quality appointments and showcase successful women within the business. I believe that hospitality businesses should be recording gender balance, monitoring gender pay gaps and publishing their own targets and strategy for diversity.  However, if these initiatives prove inadequate, then it is time to consider resorting to the faster, but blunter tool of quotas.

Serena von der Heyde FIH MI is the owner of The Georgian House Hotel, London

Sign up to the Diversity in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure Charter here.