Why it’s now more important than ever to #BeKindToHospitality

GRAHAM Chalmers

As we approach some form of freedom, hospitality businesses and workers are battling to cling on and in some cases worrying how they will cope with yet more changes, even though they are positive ones – so it’s more important than ever to be kind to them. The Be Kind To Hospitality campaign, launched by Graham Chalmers (pictured) of Radisson RED in Glasgow to ask the public to be considerate and patient, has swept the UK – and has helped make people think of the feelings of staff in the trade.

Said Radisson RED Curator, Graham Chalmers, “When we launched the Be Kind To Hospitality campaign we wanted to ask the public to be considerate of the stresses and anxieties people in our industry shared with them.

“Our campaign has spread across the entire UK, with industry heavyweights joining us, mass coverage and far too many outlets sharing their bad experiences on social media. This shows the campaign is as essential now as ever.

“Please be patient and be kind. There is a crippling staff shortage across the whole industry. Then there are the no-shows – at a time when businesses are operating at reduced capacity, it is simply unforgivable to book tables and not turn up. You could genuinely be helping to shut your favourite bar or restaurant permanently.

“Also spare a thought for the many suppliers and supplementary businesses who work closely with hospitality firms. They too have suffered and indeed are suffering, so remember it’s not just about the frontline staff who need your respect.

“So please, bear in mind that the people trying to ensure you have fun when you’re out are doing their best. They have worries and anxieties just like you, and they’re working hard despite them. Be patient, be considerate, be kind and treat people as you would like to be treated.

“Be kind to everyone…but please Be Kind To Hospitality.”

Debt and all the worries it brings is the chief concern of UK Hospitality Chief Executive Officer Kate Nicholls. She said, “Hospitality businesses are at breaking point and struggling under mounting debts. Currently only 1 in 5 are operating profitably but nevertheless are choosing to open their doors so their staff can get back to work and so they can provide positive outlets for communities and social spaces for many who have suffered with loneliness during lockdowns.

“The success of the vaccine programme roll out and lower Covid deaths has led to increasing frustrations under continued restrictions and hospitality teams are getting the brunt of this frustration. We have heard of some harrowing instances from members of customer aggression by a small minority of customers who are verbally abusing staff and/or causing property damage when being asked to follow legal requirements.

“We ask that people please remember to be kind to hospitality, these are not their rules, they are simply doing their job and expressing a dislike of the rules will not achieve anything apart from ruining someone’s day.”

Dean Banks,  of The Pompadour and Haar at Home is mindful of returning staff and balancing being back open with training. He said,  “It’s so hard in the hospitality industry because we’re so short staffed, people are also coming back to work and training issues. It’s difficult for people to go back into the full swing of things very quickly.

“No show diners have been a massive thing for years and years and years, we’ve not been affected massively to be honest. However it’s a culture that needs to change. People don’t understand that every seat has a value in a restaurant, the margins are so small. ”

Stephen Montgomery of Scottish Hospitality Group echos similar concerns about the no-show problem. He said, “As licensed premises reopen we are seeing lots of “no shows” in our restaurants and also hotels. We are also seeing instances of verbal abuse when our wonderful and hard working staff are trying to implement rules and regulations that have been set down by Scottish Government.

“We totally understand that everyone is getting frustrated, however we would ask that everyone to be kind to each other. If you make a reservation and do not then require it, please call and cancel. It only takes a minute, and we will thank you for remembering to do this as it will allow us to free up the table or hotel room. #bekindtohospitality. ”

Gordon McIntyre, founder of Hospitality Health, added, “I am still hearing reports of impatient and bad-mannered guests, however a bigger concern is the continuing number of ‘No Shows’, which is causing a great deal of stress and worry for owners and managers. It is not just the staff who are experiencing a tough time, this loss of income to the business is a real issue. We need customers to be kind enough to inform the venue if they will not be turning up, to allow them to sell the table!”