In its Hospitality Strategy, published earlier this month (July), the Government unveiled its hospitality strategy which focused on the three ‘R’s of reopening, recovery and resilience.
But there was some interesting points made in the strategy where the Government recognised the value of pubs not just for the economy and jobs but also as important places for people to get together.
In the ministerial foreword, secretary of state Kwasi Kwarteng and Paul Scully, minister for small businesses, it said: “The British pub is not only a landmark; it is the hub that unites our communities.”
It also confirmed that for a sector that exists to bring people together, the impact of Covid-19 was always going to be “considerable".
While the strategy was focused on helping the sector resilience by helping improve profit margins, it also accepted its additional role.
Heart of communities
“As well as providing jobs and contributing to the economy, hospitality plays a vital role at the heart of communities up and down the country, giving a welcoming space for people to come together,” the report said.
The report said that hospitality businesses, particularly the great British pub, lie at the heart of communities and play a “crucial role” in promoting mental health and wellbeing.
It highlighted that as well as providing accessible jobs and prosperity, pubs act as hubs within local communities and provide space for people to connect and socialise.
It said: “There is empirical evidence that people who have access to a local pub or bar feel more socially engaged, contented in their lives, and are more trusting of others within their community.”
The Government recognised the role of pubs as community hubs during the Covid-19 pandemic, with pubs quickly reaching out to the most vulnerable in their communities.
“Even before the pandemic, many community pubs were becoming hosts for a range of important public services, including serving as post offices and general stores and providing broadband internet access. Pub is the Hub 2020, ‘The Social Value of Pubs and Publicans providing Services in their Communities’,” it said.
The strategy recognised the role of hospitality businesses, and particularly pubs, as vital to community life because communities that work together and play together are “stronger, happier and healthier.
The Government said it would work with the sector to champion hospitality’s role in community wellbeing.
It said this would include collaborating with organisations like Pub is The Hub to strengthen the social value of the hospitality sector and combating loneliness.
It highlighted the case of the Snow Goose pub in Farnborough, Hampshire that has played a key role in tackling loneliness by hosting a range of events such as knitting clubs and a complimentary seniors Christmas lunch.
The report has championed 22 commitments to the industry from building better business resilience including improving the long-term relationship between hospitality tenants and landlords, to job and skills, to promoting UK hospitality businesses overseas, ensuring the hospitality industry is environmentally-friendly and to establishing a Hospitality Sector Council, comprising businesses, sector representatives and industry leaders.
It also said that businesses have proven to be “incredibly resilient” and have adapted their operations in a range of different ways – from providing takeaway meals and Home Food Kits to embracing new technology and maximising the use of outdoor space.
The strategy also focused on helping the hospitality sector to be resourceful and environmentally friendly
It said that despite the challenges facing the sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the sector continued to prioritise the delivery of Carbon Net Zero.
Under the leadership of UKHospitality, the sector has put in place a forum to allow businesses across the sector and its supply chain to come together and work collaboratively to address the challenge of climate change.
As a result, the sector has already made “big strides” towards developing an ambitious sector-wide Net Zero strategy.
It highlighted the case of Purity Brewing Company, which brews beer using the latest brewing technology, combined with heat exchange and steam recapture technology to reduce its energy consumption. As part of Purity’s Pure Eco values, all spent grain and yeast is used for cattle & pig feed whilst their used hops are sent to local farmers for fertiliser.
It also highlighted the case of larger breweries such as ABInBev
which is working to reduce its impact on the environment. It said the company is committed to environmental sustainability, with initiatives covering the sourcing and processing of barley, utilising renewable energy and reducing plastic waste.