Project plans to address harassment in hospitality

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Story sharing: Hospitality Speaks will share positive and negative stories from hospitality staff when it launches in March
Story sharing: Hospitality Speaks will share positive and negative stories from hospitality staff when it launches in March

Related tags: Hospitality

A platform aimed at holding industry employers accountable on issues of harassment and discrimination will launch at the end of next month.

The project will manifest as “a safe online space for hospitality employees to share their anonymous stories of bullying, harassment and discrimination”.

Hospitality Speaks will celebrate ‘people pioneers’, who encourage staff retention through good employment practices, and allow employees to share their positive experiences too.

It was created by Victoria Stewart, freelance food journalist and former Evening Standard​ food editor, and Hannah Norris, a public relations officer restaurant.

Hannah Norris told The Morning Advertiser​: “At the moment, in this uncertain climate, any restaurant that can keep its staff for a start, keep them happy, keep them nurtured, challenged and supported... they tend to stay.”

Consumer concern

She said ethics and good employment practices were on the mind of customers now more than ever before.

“We believe what will start to happen is that customers are going to start to want to know about how the food got on their plate, not just about the sustainability or the sourcing but about what happens in order to get that plate of food there.

“It is a 'was anybody hurt in the making of this meal?' type of thing.

The project comes amid the #MeToo movement, the global movement that has seen individuals share their experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Its founders said they would like to see “some form of tested criteria” to enable a hospitality industry standard for behaviour and ethics, akin to the audit system used by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).

Not the norm

Panels and talks will be held to discuss how the issues revealed by testimonies can be addressed.  

Poor practice was “not the norm”, but an exception that should be addressed, Norris explained.

“From a behavioural perspective, it is just about being treated well at work, I don't think any of us want to go to work and be treated badly.

“It is a bit of campaign of two parts in many ways, on the one side you have the celebration of the good practice and then the opportunity for people to come and talk to us about some of the negative stuff.”

The project was announced in the same week that chef Dan Doherty stepped down from his role at the Royal Oak, Marylebone, following an investigation into his conduct.

Related topics: Chefs

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