Why is the casual dining sector in trouble?

Byron is one of a number of casual dining chains that are shrinking their estates

Five years ago, the casual dining sector was booming. Private equity houses were investing large amounts of money into new chains of restaurants which quickly expanded their outlets, for example Byron, the burger chain, was bought for £100m.

Today, the sector is, to say the least, struggling. EAT is the latest brand to announce closures. Byron is going through a restructuring, Jamie’s Italian has entered into a company voluntary arrangement, and Strada is implementing a closure programme.

What has happened to bring about this sudden reversal of fortunes? Roger Gregory, partner at Pitmans Law, has the answers. Read on

Roger Gregory
Partner, Pitmans
D +44 (0)207 634 4634
M +44 (0)774 760 3864
E rgregory@pitmans.com

Pitmans Law is a Business Partner of the Institute of Hospitality.


Institute of Hospitality Showcases Student Research in New Digest

Digest coverThe Institute of Hospitality has published its inaugural Annual Digest of research by students from universities and colleges that are members of its Education Membership Scheme.

The subjects explored in the research papers include sophisticated menu engineering; the impact of the airbnb on the UK hotel industry; revenue management in ski resorts; and waffleshop franchises.

Alistair Sandall FIH, the Institute’s head of professional development, says: “We thank the students for their submissions to this inaugural Annual Digest. Thanks too must be passed to their lecturers for encouraging them to submit their research. ”

“If through this publication we can bring new insights and ideas into the bright lights and away from university shelves,  hopefully we can help to create closer links and ties between educators and practitioners.”

The following students’ research is showcased in the Digest;

Rosie Magurie, BA Professional Culinary Arts, University of Derby

Haroon Khan Afridi, MSc International Hotel Management, University of Surrey

Mara Leidi, BSc International Hospitality Management, Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne

Ida Davidsen, UG studies BSc (Hons) Hospitality Leadership and Management, Leeds Beckett University.

The Institute has 75 universities and colleges on its Education Membership Scheme, adding up to more than 3,000 student members across the world.

Download the 2017 Digest Here

Submissions for the 2018 Digest will be open from September with a deadline of 31st October. Full information can be found by downloading the Institute of Hospitality Digest Submission Guidelines.

If you have any queries, please email digest@instituteofhospitality.org

If you would like your college or university to get involved but are not yet members of the Institute, contact the Membership Department on 020 8661 4900 or membership@instituteofhospitality.org




25th Hotel General Managers’ Conference celebrates ‘The Spirit of the Time’

Delegates (2)Over 470 hotel professionals gathered at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, London, on 15 and 16 January for the 25th Hotel General Managers’ Conference. The sold-out event, entitled ‘The Spirit of the Time’, reflected on the past, analysed the present and looked forward to the future of the industry during a programme of expert talks and panel discussions with thought-leaders.

Cyber security

The conference began with CEO & Co-Founder of cyber security platform Trustlight, Oliver Rees, introducing delegates to an era of ‘New Innovators’. Rees shared stories of how companies are engaging with hackers to keep their own cyber security ahead of the game: “When it comes to data security, think about ‘when’, not ‘if’. You need to have a strategy in place to limit the damage and communicate it to customers”. Rees also advised delegates not to be afraid of trial and error with experimenting with technology and to embrace innovation.


The Evolution of Food Panel (2)The Evolution of Food panel discussion was chaired by hospitality consultant Amanda Afiya. Founder of Gorgeous Group Robbie Bargh, Group Operations Director at Marcus Wareing Restaurants, Chantelle Nicolson, and Store Director of Selfridges, David Jarvis, discussed the growing popularity of plant-based diets, meeting changing consumer demands and standing out from the crowd. According to Bargh plant-based diets are here to stay and represent a ‘culture shift’ rather than a trend. Nicolson stated that the “rising costs, uncertainty in the economy and a squeeze on disposable incomes will mean 2018 is one of the toughest for trading” and Jarvis pointed out that “everything nowadays in hospitality can be copied, except your staff and the experience they give”.



The importance of creating a brand was a key focus over the two days. In Revolution Through Revelation, Managing Director of Mixxa Ltd Paul Martin said: “The brand lives in your people and it’s not about what you do but how you do it.” Branding consultant Tim Watson also touched upon this in his session, Why Brand?: “You need to communicate from the inside out, and once you have internal buy in, then you are on your way to being an authentic brand.”

Leadership, performance and mindfulness

Performance coach Nigel Risner inspired delegates with his session on leadership and communication. He suggested that people can be divided into four groups based on their preferred communication style – Lions, Monkeys, Dolphins and Elephants – and asked the audience to decide which animal they are.

Risner also said that people spend too much time talking about what was rather than what will be in meetings, and any meeting should be no longer than 40 minutes.

Olympic Gold Medallist Crista Cullen MBE gave an inspiring presentation about Crista Cullenteamwork. Cullen was a member of the GB Hockey team that made history in the Rio 2016 Olympics. Cullen said: “We invested time in getting to know each other, analysing each of our strengths and weaknesses to understand how we can work together efficiently.” Cullen explained that  honest conversations are what made the team resilient and hungry for the challenge, making them train harder.

In a session about mindfulness, Director at Soul Nutrition, Katie Sheen, shared her tips on how to become more self-aware and how to calm the mind to lower levels of anxiety. “The more positive and self-aware we are, the more resilient we become, and this feeds happiness and innovation” she said.


The Future of Hotel Design panel chaired by SPACE magazine and Hotel Spec Editor Can Faik, discussed whether design is becoming too extreme. When asked where hotels need to begin, Creative Director at HBA London Constantina Tsoutsikou, said: “The lobby is the heart of the hotel so if you want to convey what you’re about, that’s where you start.” Creative Director at David Collins Studio, Simon Rawlings believes there’s a danger that hotels are trying to be and do too many things and forgetting what they do best.


Founder & Chairman of 80 DAYS, Mark Forrester and Co-Founder & CEO of Avvio, Frank Reeves gave two different talks in the Consumer Behaviours in the Digital Age session. Forrester outlined the advantages of using digital benchmarking to get the best understanding of how hotel websites are performing. “For country hotels, there is a conversion rate of 0.49% meaning that out of 200 visitors to your website, only one will make a booking. The conversion rate is nearly double for city hotels at 0.94%.” Reeves followed with a talk on Artificial Intelligence (AI). According to Reeves all hotels of all types must start looking into AI to improve the user experience and convert website visits to bookings.


In a time of adversity and disruption for the industry, the conference programme included a round-up of Everything You (Really Do) Need to Know to continue business. Covering National Minimum Wage, GDPR and the most recent update in licensing, the data and information provided ensured hoteliers were aware of all the legislation to come into place over the next 12 months.

On the evening of Monday 16 January, guests were treated to a Moët & Chandon Sue WilliamsChampagne reception before indulging in a three-course dinner created by Principle London’s Executive Chef Rodger Olsson and his team. The Caterer’s new Editor, Chris Gamm, introduced the Hotelier of the Year winner Sue Williams FIH MI, General Manager of Whatley Manor. Williams urged guests to get behind their teams and inspire the future professionals of the industry. Guests generously took part in a prize draw to raise vital funds for the Master Innholders Charitable Turst, Springboard and Hospitality Action, raising over £10,000. Acclaimed food writer Matthew Fort took to the stage after dinner to share his anecdotes of his time in hospitality.

The two-day event was chaired by Pride of Britain Hotels chief executive Peter Hancock FIH MI on day one and by award-winning photographer and hotel consultant Jeremy Rata FIH MI on day two.

Chairman of the Master Innholders Conference and General Manager of Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel Stuart Bowery FIH MI concluded the conference by inviting hoteliers to apply for the upcoming Master Innholders accolade and Aspiring Leaders Diploma.

For more information on the Master Innholders, please visit www.masterinnholders.co.uk

HQ Magazine Autumn 2017 out now


Your autumn edition of HQ Magazine has arrived in the UK and been dispatched to the rest of the world. It is available to view on our website now.

In this issue, our cover feature is on how to close the gender gap in hospitality. Globally, 70% of hospitality and tourism workers are female, and yet men hold the vast majority of management and board positions.

More women than men gain university degrees and women earn more than men early in their careers. But the situation starts to reverse when people get into their mid-thirties. Sometimes the pay gap appears because women take time off to have children. Sometimes they get ‘stuck’ at a particular level.

Tracey Fairclough MIH presents brand-new research based upon interviews with 100 women from our sector and, most importantly, provides a new road map towards achieving greater equality.

We report from an Institute of Hospitality roundtable discussion of GDPR and present the best ways to prepare for the new data protection laws that come into force in May 2018. Our participants found that GDPR is actually a good opportunity to spring-clean their data and re-think their marketing strategies.

Other topics covered this autumn include preparing chefs for the open kitchen environment, job-jumping and what it means for career progression and the new health-conscisousness sweeping through hospitality.

Editor Ben Walker AIH says: “I am encouraged to see so many of our members taking the initiative to get in touch and contribute excellent articles to the magazine. The majority of our magazine is generated by members for members. My warmest thanks go to all of our marvellous contributors. A big thank you also to our designer Miranda Willan at H2O Publishing for an especially eye-catching cover.”

Members can view the magazine by logging into the members’ area of our website.

If you are not a member, please join the Institute of Hospitality now to receive your copy of HQ Magazine.
Here is a free download from the current issue:

Report from Institute of Hospitality Roundtable on GDPR





Institute of Hospitality welcomes payment specialist Lolly

PrintThe Institute of Hospitality announces a new business partnership with Lolly, a Point of Sale (PoS) and payments specialist serving small hospitality businesses across the UK: from coffee shops, pubs and night clubs, to mobile catering, pop ups and corporate caterers.

Peter Ducker FIH, chief executive, Institute of Hospitality, says: “Efficient payment systems mean a faster service, with more customers served in less time. The Institute of Hospitality prides itself on offering great partnership deals to our community of members and we are delighted to welcome Lolly, a hospitality-specific company that provides essential support to our diverse, dynamic and entrepreneurial industry.”

Peter Moore, CEO of Lolly, comments: “Through our membership of the Institute of Hospitality, we hope to align ourselves with industry colleagues, and to benefit from the knowledge-sharing and best practice, which – in turn – we will pass on to our own clients. Best practice is vital to the success and growth of the sector.”

The company offers a complete point of sale package where customers can use its EPoS software on tills and PoS tablets. Lolly then networks these to card payment machines, to speed up service and provides a cloud-based back office, supplying real-time business analytics.

Lolly provides enterprise level EPoS at an affordable price. Today, it is the only UK business of its kind that can truly scale from a downloadable product to a fully connected real-time network of tills, powered by an enterprise-level inventory reporting management system.

For more information visit the Lolly website: https://www.itslolly.com/

Institute of Hospitality new webinar season spring-summer 2017

webinar logo

The Institute of Hospitality webinars are a series of informative and educational online presentations, available to members and non-members, and designed to help you advance in your professional career and business. Industry professionals and business experts share their knowledge and know-how during live online sessions, that you can access from the comfort of your home or office, and from any mobile device.

Our webinars include Q&A sessions and you can recieve follow-up materials. Last year we delivered over 50 webinars, helping hundreds of individuals improve their personal and professional skills, as well as their business knowledge.

Webinars are complimentary for members of the Institute of Hospitality. Non-members can access our live sessions for £10 (incl. VAT).

Book your places now for our new season of webinars and get yourself and your business ahead in 2017.

New Webinar Programme

4 April 2017 3pm UK timeNEW HA LOGO
Quality assessments vs online reviews
Trisha Bennett FIH director, Hospitality Assured

In this digital age, are business quality assessments still an important customer service benchmarking tool, when more and more customer are  trusting online reviews?

Hospitality Cruise Logo25 April 2017 3pm UK time
Recruitment and retention: first impressions matter
Neil Shorthouse, Hospitality Cruise International

With much of the recruitment process now taking place online, it is important to ensure that you make the right impression and leave applicants with a positive image of your organisation. The webinar will look at how to get the basics right (respond promptly to enquiries, time-management, treat applicants as individuals) and look at how online and off-line recruitment channels perform in relation to retention.

Snapshot logo9 May 2017 3pm UK time
Adopting new technology doesn’t need to be hard
Janel Clark, Snapshot

In 2017 it is no longer necessary to commit to one stand-alone system for everything. How can you pick and choose apps to suit your hotel and needs? In this webinar learn how using smaller software can reduce risk, give flexibility and improve productivity and cost efficiency for your hotel.

23 May 2017 3pm UK timeTrivago Logo
How hotels can compete with the holiday rental market
Aly Thompson, Trivago

Holiday rental websites are growing in number and increasing in popularity. In particular the sharing economy has gained a lot of attention in recent years, but what is it about these sites that really appeals to travellers?  Aly looks at traveller behaviour and the positioning of such websites to find out, and identify some actions hoteliers can take to market themselves competitively to the same traveller group. We’ll also look at the numbers and give an up-to-date assessment of the growth, and therefore opportunity, of the holiday rental market.

13 June 2017 3pm UK timeUpskill People Logo
Truly changing behaviour with e-learning
Peter Fullard, Upskill People

Skills development must go beyond ‘ticking the box’ to deliver a real business bottom-line benefit. Peter will focus on showing how hospitality professionals can ensure that e-learning supports a change in team behaviour that lasts. It will cover how to successfully develop, deploy and measure online training.

11 July 2017 3pm UK timeTrivago Logo
How to drive direct bookings to your hotel
Aly Thompson, Trivago

Driving direct bookings is not all about big marketing budgets. It’s about taking control of the tools at your disposal to enable the traveller to find your hotel in the early stages of their research, and hooking them so they book with you directly. Aly looks at the basics of content marketing, website user experience, and search engine optimisation. She will also look at websites travellers commonly visit in the inspiration phase of their travel research, to identify partnership opportunities beyond distribution channels.

25 July 2017 3pm UK timeGeorgian House logo
Taking control of your career progression
Adam Rowledge, Georgian House Hotel

Your manager or HR office may not have the necessary time to devote to your development.  Instead, we have to take control of making the right career choices and fulfilling our career potential.

Book your webinars now

Note: If the scheduled time (3pm UK time on Tuesdays) is not convenient, members can still access the webinars at a later date from our website.



New research into wine ordering

eurochrie-research-winnerThe winners of the Institute of Hospitality Education Research Award 2016 at last year’s EuroCHRIE conference in Budapest were Henri Kuokkanen MIH  (pictured right) and Carlos da Silva MIH for their research into the future of wine ordering in restaurants

Wine can be a source of great pleasure. Yet consumers may perceive selecting wine a risk, and particularly in restaurants the choice can create stress. The solid reputation of a restaurant eases such concerns when patrons can seek advice from expert staff. When combined perfectly with food, wine elevates a meal experience to a new level. Thus wine selection is an essential component of customer experience, and the assistance a restaurant offers is critical.

A wine steward, or sommelier, acts as a facilitator in wine purchases by providing sensory descriptions of wines. While a sommelier directly boosts wine sales, he or she also indirectly augments wine revenue through better staff training. Customers generally perceive extended interaction with staff positively, generating further benefits from hiring a sommelier.

Employing trained sommeliers inevitably increases costs. In an attempt to enhance customer experience without this cost, some restaurants have replaced traditional paper wine lists with electronic tablets.

Tablets as food menus show promise in enhancing the service experience of a customer by providing extended information, but the potential of combining food and wine orders on tablets has yet to be tested. Tablets are beneficial when customers perceive value in them, and wine suggestions may be included in these tools. Restaurant revenue management may also benefit from the use of technology. However, the special role of wine in creating a dining experience calls for extra attention to how wine itself is presented; it should not merely be treated as a sub-component of the food menu.

To read more (the article The Wine Tablet Experience in the current issue of HQ Magazine, the Institute of Hospitality official publication), click here
For the full research paper, please contact Henri Kuokkanen MIH, research and education, Switzerland, email: henri.kuokkanen@gmail.com