Food additives are a cause of obesity, says Mike Duckett MBE FIH

Mike Duckett MBE FIH, centre, meets HRH The Prince of Wales

The hospitality industry has a responsibility to promote healthy eating habits, writes Mike Duckett MBE FIH, the ambassador for good hospital food and the former award-winning head of catering at The Royal Brompton Hospital, London.

“I have always worried about the amount of chemical additives added to food during manufacturing and the number of alien ingredients used to extend the colour and the shelf life of food, especially ready frozen meals. I have been very vocal in expressing my concerns which were confirmed recently when I visited the local hospital here in Surrey.

I was disturbed to hear of two eight-year-old boys who were hospitalised with severe pain from type-one diabetes. The senior nurse on duty told me that the main cause was their poor diet and lack of a variety of healthy food.

We therefore as the hospitality fraternity  have a collective responsibility to ensure that the food we serve is healthier.  We should persuade those who manufacture meals to be more aware of the steps needed to reducing high levels of obesity.

Statistics show that we are eating out more regularly and that we tend to eat more in a restaurant than in the home environment. This raises one important question. How safe is it to eat out these days? Recently we have heard that a major meat supplier was told by the FSA to stop supplying, a popular pub chain received a zero rating for hygiene,  and food factories change best before dates on food.  We also hear of customers dying from eating food that cause allergies. It makes you wonder if eating out is taking your life in their hands.

Hospitals, care homes, meals on wheels services and the general public are in the habit of purchasing  ready frozen microwave meals. These meals are high in fat, sugar and salt. Scientists have warned that emulsifiers – the chemicals widely used in processed foods including ice cream, bread and chocolate – may be a key cause of obesity. These emulsifiers are used to make smoother textures in foods such as peanut butter, sausages and mayonnaise. They are understood to be chemically active long after we digest them and they increase hunger and therefore we eat more.

If we are going to take the growing obesity epidemic seriously, we need an urgent look at what is being used in our food manufacturing and in the type of food and ready meals we serve our customers and campaign for the use of fresh local ingredients from as near the point of service as possible.”


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

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




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

Dates for your diary in 2018

To help you plan the New Year, we have brought together dates of interest to hospitality operators, including major sporting events, trade exhibitions, conferences, Institute of Hospitality events, and the introduction of new legislation.

8 January 2018RMOY 2018 logo copy (4)
Restaurant Manager of the Year 2018
Royal Garden Hotel, London
Organised and hosted by the Institute of Hospitality.

15-16 January 2018
The Master Innholders General Managers’ Conference
Principal’s De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, London
‘The Spirit of the Time’ is the title of this year’s must-attend event for hotel managers.

26 January 2018
Institute of Hospitality Sussex Branch Annual Black Tie Dinner
Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa, Midhurst

5-6 February 2018
Hotel Investment Forum India (HIFI)
JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar, Mumbai
India’s most important hotel investment conference.

9-25 February 2018
Winter Olympics
South Korea

5-8 March 2018
Excel, London
The UK’s market leading hospitality and foodservice event ( 82nd edition).

12 March 2018
Institute of Hospitality Passion4Hospitality 2018
Novotel London West, London
The Institute of Hospitality’s flagship student and industry networking event.

20-22 March 2018
IFEX 2018
Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast
Northern Ireland’s premier food, drink, retail and hospitality event.

April 2018
New Acrylamide Legislation
Food businesses in the UK will be required to put in place practical steps to manage acrylamide within their food safety management systems under new EU legislation which will apply from April 2018.
Read guidance from the Food Standards Agency

1 April 2018
UK National Living Wage Increases
From £7.50 an hour to £7.83 (for 25 year olds and over)
Other pay increases include a rise in the rate for 21-to-24 year olds by 4.7% from £7.05 to £7.38 an hour, the rate for 18-to-20 year olds by 5.4% from £5.60 to £5.90 an hour, a 3.7% increase in the rate for 16-to-17 year olds from £4.05 to £4.20 an hour and a 5.7% rise in the rate for apprentices from £3.50 to £3.70 an hour.

4 April 2018
Gender Pay Gap Reporting Deadline
Private and voluntary sector employers in England, Wales and Scotland with at least 250 employees will be required to publish information about the differences in pay between men and women in their workforce, based on a pay bill ‘snapshot’ date of 5 April 2017, under the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. The first reports must be published by 4 April 2018. Read guidance from ACAS

9 April 2018
Institute of Hospitality Fellows’ Dinner
An evening of high-quality food and drink and exclusive networking.
The Royal Automobile Club, London

12-13 April 2018
Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) National Leadership & Development Forum 2018
Celtic Manor, Newport
HCA celebrates 70 years with the theme of ‘Delivering Today, Enhancing Tomorrow.’

14 April 2018
The Grand National
Aintree, Liverpool

19 April 2018
Institute of Hospitality Southern Branch: Student of The Year Awards 2018
Balmer Lawn Hotel, Brockenhurst

6-8 May 2018
Food & Hospitality Africa 2018
Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg, SA
A gateway to the African market. With a footfall of over 6 600 of visitors over three days in 2017 – more than 80% of whom make or influence decisions.

11 May 2018
23rd Institute of Hospitality Awards for Professionalism Northern IrelandNI awards 1 web res
Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast
Formerly known as the Janus Awards, the largest event within the Northern Ireland Branch calendar.

19 May 2018
Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Windsor Castle, UK

19 May 2018
FA Cup Final
Wembley, London

25 May 2018
EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) Introduced
Members have free access to our ‘Get ready for GDPR’ Management Guide

26 May 2018
UEFA Champions League Final
Kiev, Ukraine

14 June – 15 July 2018generic
FIFA World Cup

2 -15 July 2018
Wimbledon Tennis Tournament

7-29 July 2018
Tour de France

19 -22 July 2018
British Open (Golf)
Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland

20-22 July
Rugby World Cup Sevens
San Francisco

3-5 September 2018
Speciality & Fine Food Fair
Olympia, London
The UK’s leading showcase of fine food & drink with more than 850 producers.

28-30 September 2018
The Ryder Cup (Golf)

16-18 October 2018
Independent Hotel Show
Olympia, London
A diverse collection of suppliers and expert insights from business sessions.

5-7 November 2018wtm_image_-_reduced2
World Travel Market
ExCeL, London
The global meeting place for the international travel trade.

21-22 November 2018
Sleep 2018 – The Hotel Design Event
For 11 years, Sleep has led the market as Europe’s premium event for hotel design and development.

November 2018 (date to be confirmed)
Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference
The Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka
More than 250 senior figures and decision makers involved in all aspects of hotel and tourism investment in South Asia expected.


The Menu Museum

menu museum logo large(1)A Brighton-based academic is bringing a unique archive of menus to the attention of the wider international hospitality industry and education practitioners with the aim that it will remain free to users and continue to grow.

The Menu Museum is an interactive online menu archive that facilitates research and teaching in menu design, pricing and food and beverage trends. It currently features more than 640 menus and has over 1,500 users.

Ioannis Pantelidis FIH, principal lecturer in hospitality and culinary arts at the University of Brighton, started the website with his colleague Ken Woodward. Pantelidis says: “I had a big collection of restaurant menus that I was using for food and beverage management-related modules, so I had numerous folders that I used to carry to my classes. When I came to Brighton I started teaching a module with Ken. He had his own collection, so when we put the two together we had about 500 menus which we scanned and uploaded onto the website. Since then a further 140 menus have been uploaded by users, which is great.”

The collection includes a menu replica from the Titanic (1912) and a 19th century menu from the Dorchester Hotel, London.  Menus can be searched for by country and year of origin. Once registered, users can upload their own menus or collections of menus.


Pantelidis adds that the website continues to be a work in progress and wants to bring it to the wider attention of the international hospitality community in order for it to grow.

The website can be an important teaching aid. Pantelidis has used it to compare a 1970s Dorchester menu with its equivalent today. He says: Students are able to explore the differences – how the pricing strategies differ, the design and the types of dishes on the menu. I want to keep the website free and I want the community to use it.”

The Menu Museum won the 2017 Teaching Innovation Award,  presented by
The Council of Hospitality Management Education, in association with the SHARE center.

The Menu Museum received initial funding from the European Union. Subsequently both the Savoy Educational Trust and Trigger Solutions have helped with server hosting and maintenance costs.

BU_23NOV17_AW_050adjustedFor further information about supporting the Menu Museum, please contact:
Dr Ioannis S. Pantelidis FIH – Principal Lecturer
Admissions, recruitment, marketing & WP leader
School of Sport and Service Management
University of Brighton,  Darley Road, Eastbourne, BN20 7UR
Tel:  +44 1273 64 4748   Email:


Keep Calm and Control Costs in 2018

Melvin GoldThe UK has been a country of uncertainty in 2017, fuelled by the drip-drip of 24-hour news. On a macro level it seems that 2018 will see more of the same: Brexit, terrorism, politics, economics and much more besides, writes leading independent hotel consultant Melvin Gold FIH as he makes some predictions as to what lies in store.

But Britons have proved themselves to be resilient folk as has always been the case. Yes, there is much to complain about and much to worry about, but the country fundamentally keeps calm and carries on.

It is perhaps surprising that hotel markets in both London and the regions are ending 2017 in positive territory, strongly so in the case of London. Nonetheless, the second half of 2017 has been tougher, as economic factors produced headwinds and the supply pipeline increasingly moved from the drawing board to reality. Inbound tourism has boomed, the weak pound having seemingly magnetic properties. For the time being the UK appears relatively cheap. That has benefitted London, Edinburgh and the country’s most popular tourist cities.

The brave souls at PWC put their necks on the line every year in preparing the hotel sector’s most widely available forecast. For 2018 they forecast London’s RevPar growth at 2.4% and the rest of the UK at a similar 2.3%. If those levels are achieved, they are likely to be similar to UK inflation, so not much in the way of real growth, but given the way the news is reported and some of the retail figures, it could be far worse.

Of course there are variances by specific location and market, too complex to discuss here. It is also also worth reminding ourselves that regional UK is not a single hotel market, and neither is London.

Although the uncertainties connected with Brexit have adversely affected the currency to create the tourism boom, most hoteliers are more concerned about its effects on costs rather than revenues. The currency change, perhaps exacerbated by the uncertainties of future rights of work and residency, has seen some European workers relocate to other countries. The value of their remittances home was affected by the currency movement. Increasingly hoteliers and restaurateurs bemoan staff shortages and recruitment difficulties and if this prevails – which it probably will – it is likely to cause a more competitive labour market and wage levels rising. The Autumn 2017 budget saw the announcement of a 4.4% increase in the National Living Wage in any case, which is well beyond sector revenue growth forecasts.

Notwithstanding that, there remains a quantum of new hotels still to enter the market in many towns and cities. PWC took that into account in their forecast but nonetheless those hotels need staff and even if they are supported by demand growth they may imbalance the labour market.

This is not the only cost pressure, though. Pension contributions, imported food and beverage, energy, and property taxes are all likely to rise. Thus it is likely that 2018 will be a year which, if hoteliers have reason to complain, it will be about staff shortages and rising costs. Revenues may give less cause for complaint, other than the fact that they fail to keep pace with costs which impacts margin. In such an environment it is the smartest and canniest operators that will have least grounds for complaint.

One thing sure to distract from the other headlines and create inflows of tourists is a royal wedding and we will have one of those in May 2018. Tourism chiefs and hoteliers will raise a glass to the happy couple.

Melvin Gold FIH, is a leading independent hotel consultant and commentator.
More about him and the range of services offered by his company can be found at:

Members of the Institute of Hospitality will receive your annual statistical report ‘Spotlight on Hospitality’ at the start of 2018, packed full of informed insights into the year ahead. Remember to renew your membership to secure this and many more benefits in the coming year.

The Royal Wedding will be a welcome boost for hoteliers and tourism chiefs in 2018

Understanding the impact of Brexit on housekeeping teams. Take part in important research by People 1st

People-1st-Logo-ptpThere is still significant uncertainty about the extent to which employers will be able to recruit skilled and unskilled labour from the EU, when the UK leaves in 2019.

Businesses need time to prepare, particularly in those areas that currently rely on a high proportion of other EU workers. Anecdotally, hotel and accommodation providers are increasingly concerned about the possible impact of Brexit on housekeeping teams, given the high proportion of EU nationals currently employed in this area. A challenge facing the sector is that official figures suggests that migrant workers make up only 28% of the housekeeping workforce, which could downplay the potential impact on the sector.

We believe that the official figures significantly underestimate the number of migrant workers employed in housekeeping roles and are urgently undertaking research with hotel and accommodation providers to identify:

  • The extent to which their housekeeping teams employ migrant workers and are therefore susceptible to any restrictions imposed on recruiting EU workers post-Brexit
  • The extent to which recruitment and retention of housekeeping teams has been affected since the referendum
  • Possible ways in which employers are considering recruiting and retaining housekeeping teams post-Brexit.

The results will be shared with employers and industry organisations, as well as with government to help inform understanding about the needs of the hospitality sector in the run-up to the UK leaving the EU.

The research is being conducted by People 1st in January 2018 for release in early February. If you want to participate and share your views please contact Martin-Christian Kent on 07770733393 or