How can consumers support responsible hospitality this year?

The hospitality sector, among many others, has been brainstorming ways in which we can responsibly come together in our much-loved environments this year. When our favourite cafes, bars and restaurants temporarily closed their doors, the people behind them were working diligently on ways to adapt to our new normal so they could continue to offer […]
Image from Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition

The hospitality sector, among many others, has been brainstorming ways in which we can responsibly come together in our much-loved environments this year. When our favourite cafes, bars and restaurants temporarily closed their doors, the people behind them were working diligently on ways to adapt to our new normal so they could continue to offer us their service.

Our recent lockdown has provided some unexpected time for us to reflect on what’s truly important in our lives. Part of this reflection has illuminated just how significant our essential food and drink services are in terms of our access to food and nutrition. That morning juice at our favourite juice bar and those indulgent healthy lunches with our foodie friends were perhaps something we had begun to take for granted, and something we most certainly missed when we no longer had access to the them.

This naturally raised questions around our food choices, such as – what we should eat to boost our immunity? How we can eat when we want to make it last? How we can minimize our food waste? In times of economic uncertainty when our spending options are perhaps limited, it also raises the question of who we can support.

Such reflections are transferable to our wider sustainability goals. If we thought critically and consciously about the decisions we made around our food choices in our normal lives, we could ensure that this collective responsibility around our consumption could maintain momentum. We could make a conscious decision to support the local businesses who are promoting healthy lifestyles, minimizing waste and safeguarding our nutrition.

With hospitality outlets now finally open on the island again, now is the perfect opportunity to utilize our spending power. We can build back better and support those hospitality outlets working on sustainable service which is good for both people and planet.

As a costumer, if you are confident that a local business is working hard on to create a responsible and connective place for you, share this with your own community to promote the outlet and give them a positive review. For small businesses, support is imperative moving forward. Let’s support them.

What can food and drink outlets do moving forward?

The suspension of some international supply chains during the pandemic has highlighted our reliance on international products and trade. It is an opportunity therefore for businesses to consider how they can engage more locally sourced produce and products. This shift would not only support local producers, it would also reduce operational emissions. From a sustainability standpoint this is a win win, with both social and environmental benefits.

With the British Takewaway Campaign recently stating that vegan and vegetarian meals are now the fastest growing takeway trend in the UK, focusing on incorporating plant based options with local ingredients into your menu could be both an ethical decision, and one that’s good for business. According to the study, food orders for vegan dishes had increased by 338% between 2016 and 2018, and 136% for vegetarian.

Sanitation is key in creating a safe work space for both your team and your customers, so now is the time to make your local communities feel comfortable. By communicating the safety measures you are taking, you can assure your customers that you are doing everything you can to safeguard their experience with your service. The MTA has provided protocols on how to prepare your workplace for business again. Keep both your staff and your customers informed of your efforts, so they understand you are operating responsibly.

With a significant number of people now working from home, offering a delivery service with lunch specials can target the work force who are still pining for your yummies. For the professionals who may have returned to work but are perhaps lunching in their own environments, partnering with local offices and offering loyalty points may also be an effective way forward.

While a significant number of us have regained our freedom and mobility, there are still some of us who may have to be more cautious and spend more time at home. Launching an online workshop with your chefs could be a fun way to inspire those followers to get creative, and ultimately return to your service for the tasty goods when they can.

SevenRooms, the high profile hospitality consultancy company encourages hospitality stakeholders to 

“Use this economic slowdown as an opportunity to build real relationships. Your restaurant is in the business of selling experiences — human experiences and connections that transcend food or finances. The coronavirus is a peculiar crisis in that it deprives us of the one thing that helps people adapt to crisis: each other. Your restaurant can be the place people come to get that connection back”. 

If you are working on adopting more responsible practices in your outlet and are interested in featuring on our directory, check out the certification criteria here.

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