Hannah Lloyd, Ye Olde Bridge Inn, Oxton, Southwell, NottinghamshireJob title
Publican, hospitality operator, mummyBest advice you’ve received
Seize every opportunityBest advice you’ve given
Hard work will pay offWhat are the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
Now we’re passing post-pandemic hospitality recovery, where peoples habits and behaviours changed, we’re now on to a cost of living crisis, with consumer spending more cautious, with costs of goods that have sky rocketed, in an industry where the customer clearly doesn’t think any of the above has affected us… and I also have a toddler and I’m his mummy! Tackling my seven day week, career and business goals, crunching numbers, while chasing around and entertaining an active yogurt covered mini me. I don’t call them challenges, which they are, it’s our normal, my day to dayHave things changed for women in the sector since you began your career?
I see a lot more female business operators/ directors now than when I first started within the hospitality sector and definitely since becoming a Publican, but the industry is still male dominated or male and female joint owned, there’s still a lot less female led operations and definitely young female led business owners.What are the barriers that are still to be overcome and how could this be tackled?
Removing stereotyping of gender roles for success in my industry, we’re still not taken quite as seriously as we should be.
I’m looking to acquire another venue when the right one comes up, which is commonly done by like minded counterparts with the same ambition, business model and goal but I get questioned about expanding now when I also want to have another child. Some people are still surrounded with lack of understanding that you can have ambitions for your family and career at the same time and be taken seriously, especially in Hospitality Operations.How can the sector #EmbraceEquity?
For my personal circumstances and many other female hospitality operators, being a mummy and raising a family is my calling but I’m a business women and work is my passion. There is still a barrier for working mums such as costs of childcare which can make it non viable for women who are a business owner to be able to run their business. There’s no maternity leave when you’re the driving force and that’s a sacrifice you have to make. When my son was a newborn he attended more meetings than some adults have in their entirety!
With this in mind we can embrace equity in our industry like any other industry and make being a working mum more financially appealing with correct support packages for those who chose to work or need to work
Karen Errington, the Rat Inn, Anick, NorthumberlandJob title
Co-ownerBest advice you’ve received
Set out your stall and be confident in what your offering is, there will always be ‘naysayers’ who don’t like change (especially if you’ve taken on an old pub like we did) but remember if you have the expertise and a clear vision of what you want to achieve then people will come. Also ‘give the people what they want’ was one of the best bits of advice I was ever given, paying customers are ultimately what we all need to pay the bills so with any dish that makes the menu one of the first questions is ‘would we like to eat that?’Best advice you’ve given
If you are committed to a career in hospitality choose carefully where you work and learn as much as you can from the best people and implement that advice, but remember not to be inflexible; in this industry you need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances and trends and move with the times. Another bit of invaluable advice is ‘never explain’ ie there are many back of house details affecting the day to day running of the business which its neither relevant nor beneficial for the customer to know about.What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
The biggest challenges we have faced throughout our sixteen years this year at the pub are the recent rising costs and overheads, from fuel costs to basic ingredient prices margins are very tight indeed and making sure you have your menu priced correctly has never been as important.This means keeping a constant eye on costs and making sure you reflect any increases in your pricing.At one time we would absorb some price rises but its no longer possible to do this as there’s no ‘wiggle room’.It is a worry as prices are changing almost daily but luckily we change our menu daily too so by choosing carefully we can still offer good value premium quality ingredients at a price customers are happy to pay.Have things changed for women in the sector since you began your career?
There are far more women now represented in traditionally male dominated roles such as chefs, particularly head chefs running kitchen teams.When I first started generally there were fewer female chefs, quire often they would be in minor roles and the culture in kitchens then wasn’t really conducive to a pleasant or even a practically workable environment for women. It would have taken a certain type of woman to deal with the hierarchy and gender bias, but what was acceptable back then is no longer so and as a result we are seeing more young girls coming into the industry, partially as a result of positive female role models represented in the media.
I think the long hours also made these roles difficult for women to take on with family etc but most kitchens these days are looking harder at the work life balance and we are seeing better hours and working conditions and ultimately more inclusivity.What are the barriers that are still to be overcome and how could this be tackled?
As mentioned earlier the unsocial/long hours and the work/life balance is still a huge problem in recruiting young people to the industry. The only way to resolve this issue is for people in this country to understand the true cost in producing the food that is placed on their plates in a professional food service environment. Especially so in the current climate of rising global fuel and food costs. We still often hear people complaining about poor wages and long hours in hospitality, but better working hours and higher wages will only ever be possible if the way we view the industry as a whole is changed. Will those same people ultimately be prepared to pay more when eating out? That’s the biggest barrier we have to overcome in our industryHow can the sector #EmbraceEquity?
The starting point is to stop and take time to think about how we make our own workplace more inclusive and accessible to all. The issues women have had in the past can of course be extended to and applied to other groups. Once we start to focus on these issues we can examine our own biases and work in a positive way to overcome them. I suppose thinking about a persons individuality and identifying their strengths and working on that particular strength to enable them to achieve their best is important.
One of the other things we are currently looking at is wage equity and how we reward different employees for doing the same job, irrespective of age or qualifications
Eljesa Saciri, Zetter TownhouseJob title
General managerBest advice you’ve received
Stop apologising for taking up the space you have earned.Best advice you’ve given
Do not compromise yourself, your beliefs, or values for the comfort of others.What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
Over the years there have been countless hurdles, and as time goes on the weight of those challenges change. A big challenge, that I, and many women in the industry have faced, is microaggressions. Taking a moment to look back, I now recognise those unhealthy behaviours that were frequently normalised are not OK. This includes being patronised and condescended, being spoken to and treated as a subordinate. The underhand things like being expected to take notes in the meeting or being asked if you are someone’s PA, as if, being a woman means you cannot in fact be the head of the table, there must always be someone you are answering to. This is something I no longer tolerate, not personally and not for anyone in my team.Have things changed for women in the sector since you began your career?
Things are continually progressing for women in the industry, but it is crucial that we do not become complacent. We are seeing more and more women in lead roles, we are now taking charge of the narrative, but there needs to be continual support and allyship from others around us. It is time that we take our careers and development into our own hands, and if they don’t want us at the table, we make our own. There is no time to dwell on what things were, we must keep moving forward to ensure a better industry for ourselves and future generations.What are the barriers that are still to be overcome and how could this be tackled?
We somehow keep finding ourselves stuck in the same cycles. Pre-conceived notions of how much women can achieve, our capabilities and achievements. We, as women, need to be the driving factor in this change, we need to support one another, challenge mindsets and stop seeing other women as competition. If we are unable to build alliances with each other, we become the key challenge for one another. The fear of making others uncomfortable is still a huge problem within the industry, on all accounts, women themselves and not wanting to discomfort others, as well as people not calling others out as it creates tension. This needs to change, otherwise, there cannot be any development.How can the sector #EmbraceEquity?
Embracing equity requires that we start from within, look at what you are working with and the advantages/disadvantages you face, and how to best navigate those. We need to educate ourselves and those around us continually, having those ‘uncomfortable’ conversations and normalising open communication.
Caroline Southard, Titchwell ManorJob title:
Marketing managerBest advice you’ve received
Be curious, be interested. And there’s plenty of opportunity to be curious at Eric Snaith’s businesses. There are so many different interesting roles and everyone is friendly. Like one big family. They’re all happy to share what they’re doing and work with each other. It’s very collaborative.
I was particularly inspired some brilliant women in business, particularly in marketing, so I approached them and spent time finding out what made them tick. They were more often than not, really happy to give their time and advice to someone in the early years of their career.Best advice you’ve given
I spent some time mentoring younger people in one business I worked in. The best advice I gave was different for each person. I prefer a coaching approach when working with others. So that is to help them work out the problem themselves. Ideally you’ll give advice when it’s asked for. Generally, I think the advice I give people is to stay open minded, appreciate that people are very different and that people solve problems in different ways.What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
When my daughter was very young, it was tough juggling work and the schedules of a small child. That has got easier over time.Have things changed for women in the sector since you began your career?
Flexibility, there’s an increased understanding that school pick-ups need to be done. When flexibility is given, it’s reciprocal. People don’t mind working in the evening and working at the weekend to respond to queries.What are the barriers that are still to be overcome and how could this be tackled?
Women still have the brunt of the childcare and that can be difficult in terms of career progression.How can the sector #EmbraceEquality?
Eric Snaith’s businesses (Eric’s Fish and chips, Eric’s Pizza and Titchwell Manor) are incredibly family oriented. It was clear when I started working for the business, that flexibility was top of the agenda. Eric has kids himself and leaves when he needs to for the school run. Eric’s grown up with his mum at the helm of Titchwell Manor, a strong woman who he has always looked up to. There are so many women in the hospitality sector, so ideally more businesses would be as understanding in terms of flexibility. For those that find it difficult to be naturally flexible, ideally they would have policies that support women with caring responsibilities.
Kathleen Howard, the Dickens Bar & Inn, Scarborough, North YorkshireJob title
Licensee and directorBest advice you’ve received
To be kinder to myself. I put a lot of responsibility on my shoulders.Best advice you’ve given
Tackle one thing at a time. Don’t try and take on too much. Prioritise the most important things so that you don’t feel bombarded.What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
Running a pub is challenging physically and mentally. Getting through Covid and looking after my mental health have been my biggest challenges. As well as trying to keep a business afloat, I need to look after my and my staff’s mental health. It is important to put yesterday behind you and take a day at a time.
Social media gives the impression that you have to live up to certain ideals. It has a lot to answer for.Have things changed for women in the sector since you began your career?
I have a good relationship with my BDM, and I feel respected in the industry 10 years on because I have proved myself.
The women I meet in the industry are strong willed, which they need to be to survive. Someone sensitive without people skills would be in the wrong industry.What are the barriers that are still to be overcome and how could this be tackled?
The pub industry is still dominated by men in suits, many of whom have been in it a long time and are set in their old ways.How can the sector #EmbraceEquity?
Addressing some of the outdated views that exist could be tackled by having more women in diverse roles from licensees to senior positions in breweries, pub companies and the wider supply chain.
Working with Star Pubs & Bars I see a big difference in the industry. I see their encouragement of women. It is an organisation that encourages and supports women. It believes a woman can run a pub just as well as anyone else of which I am living proof!!
It is a different experience working with women. You know you’re on the same page the day you meet. With a man you have to win them over first.What does international women’s day mean to you?
International Women's Day is an important calendar event as it is a celebration of the many achievements of women in a male dominated world. It is also a day when we can embrace the world becoming more diverse with greater equal opportunities.How has the hospitality industry changed in terms of opportunity and numbers of women in the industry
Women in hospitality are taking on roles which previously were considered men’s jobs. During my time, women in the industry have become more career minded. I and other women want to make a difference, to be heard and are now more empowered to do so.
The industry is still male dominated from BDMs and draymen to suppliers though it is starting to change with more women taking up roles as licensees or in management positions.
To be taken seriously in this industry you need to present a tough exterior and show that you’re not a pushover. I don’t meet that many women in the industry but those I do are strong willed.
It is a different experience working with women. You know you’re on the same page the day you meet. With a man you have to win them over first.How do you encourage/support other women through your work?
To support and encourage other women I am very vocal about my experiences. I lead by example, showing both strength and passion. I have total belief that as women we can achieve anything if we put our minds to it, an attitude and behaviour that encourages other women including team members.
Tammy Molson, Star Pubs & Bars
Business development managerBest advice you’ve received
It is never too late to pursue the career path you want. It’s within your gift to have a job that you enjoy and that motivates you. Do not settle for less than what you want or deserve. Persistence, dedication, and hard work will lead you to the opportunities you have been eagerly pursuingBest advice you’ve given
Being unique and staying true to yourself. Your path will not be the same as someone else's, and that's fine. While it is good to have role models to help shape you, you should continue to focus on what makes you different. This will make you more memorable and distinguish you from others and also don't be afraid to try new things. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is key to creating energy and performing to your full potential. Sometimes the ride is bumpy, and you don't always get it perfect the first time, but that's the process to go through to learn and grow.What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
Challenges come in all shapes & sizes. From a most recent career perspective it was taking the decision to leave a role in which I had spent years mastering my craft, I was still passionate about, and had gained credibility and success in. However I’d stopped learning, felt I was standing still and wanted to challenge myself. I took the opportunity to change direction in March 2021 and effectively start again in a new role at a very difficult and challenging time for the hospitality industry.Have things changed for women in the sector since you began your career?
There is much more awareness of equality now within the sector. When I started working in the industry 24 years ago operational area management roles tended to be male dominated especially in the pub leased & tenanted sector of the hospitality industry. Within recent years we have seen the dial start to change on this. We now see more women running their own pub businesses and more women working in operational area management roles and beyond this and in to senior leadership roles which is inspiring to see.What are the barriers that are still to be overcome and how could this be tackled?
I chose to work for an employer and business that champions equality. However, it would be naive to think all other employers embrace the same principles. So I believe for some employers there is still some way to go to ensure women are treated equally when it comes to opportunity and renumeration. Opportunities should come to those who thoroughly deserve it, those who have shown the potential skillset and behaviours to deliver regardless of their gender. No matter how progressive or open-minded people think they are, bias and unconscious bias is present in everyone. A positive way to tackle unconscious bias is to first acknowledge that you have it then to understand how it affects your attitudes, behaviours and decisions. Once an individual understands their own situation and coping mechanisms this can help them to recognise these traits in others and enable them to challenge any negative biases.How can the sector #EmbraceEquity?
I think there are a number of ways we can embrace equality. These include: creating a culture of fairness and inclusion, ensuring all employees receive diversity and inclusion training, identifying and preventing unconscious biases, being aware of indirect discrimination, and ensuring diversity and equality is a key factor during the recruitment process and when looking at scales of remuneration.
Anna Low, Foyers Lodge, Loch NessJob title
Co-ownerBest advice you’ve received
‘Just say ‘yes’’
Best advice you’ve given:
‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
Many or most of the challenges I have faced in my life have been self-inflicted! I would say, honestly, that I have never felt being a woman has impacted my career progression negatively. I have always set my sights on a dream and then worked out afterwards how I’m going to get there. However, I am new to hospitality and didn’t work in the sector until I was nearly 40 so appreciate that my experiences as a younger woman were different when I worked in the arts.Have things changed for women in the sector since you began your career?
I think if you asked our female chef this question the answer would be entirely different to mine. When I worked as a professional dancer/actor it was extremely competitive but you always knew that if you had an audition that the panel were looking to cast a female – so I was never overlooked for jobs in favour of a man. It just didn’t happen. I haven’t worked in a corporate environment so while I know that there are many barriers to women escalating to leadership/boardroom level (my sister works in management consultancy) I haven’t experienced them myself.
At present our entire workforce is female - excluding my husband who I co-own the business with. Central to this is our capable and brilliant chef Vanessa. I understand that when she was starting out, the kitchen was a very male dominated environment but I think things are a bit different now, they certainly are here at Foyers Lodge.
I’m proud to be a member of the Board of Directors for Visit Inverness Loch Ness alongside many other female business leaders from the tourism sector. At present there are 7 female and 5 male representatives.What are the barriers that are still to be overcome and how could this be tackled?
Rather than industry attitudes, a change in attitude from the general population we serve would be welcome. I have never experienced barriers in a working environment with hospitality professionals however, the assumption from people that my husband runs the business with me as his secretary is both outdated and infuriating! We’re very much a team with all sorts of varying responsibilities divided up between us. I’m not entirely sure I know how it can be tackled other than to keep going and to keep representing the business wherever possible.
My housekeeping/serving/bar/kitchen staff are all well aware that we have a zero tolerance policy to any potential abuse they may face whilst carrying out their work here. My only hope is that it’ll be the same for them when they move on to other working environments.How can the sector #EmbraceEquality?
I’m not a believer in positive discrimination but rather that everyone should be given equal opportunities to progress and succeed. This is certainly something we operate by here. We have a small team but I’m proud to say, as real living wage employers, that they are all well looked after and treated with fairness and respect.
Katie Mulliss, the Hand and Flowers, MarlowTitle
Restaurant managerBest advice received
Always trust your instincts. Working in hospitality, meeting so many different people every day means you have to quickly assess situations and people and eventually it becomes second nature.Best advice given
Push yourself to be better every day. Ask questions and learn as much as you can, even if it’s just small incremental steps in the right direction to better yourself.Biggest challenges faced
Returning from Covid and the challenges that came with it: going into the unknown as we returned with masks and social distancing, learning and adapting to new ways.
Have things changed for women in the sector since you began your career?
More women are in senior roles. Take the Tom Kerridge Group for example: there’s myself, Lourdes (general manager), Sarah (head chef at the Coach), Pina (head of housekeeping at the Hand & Flowers) and Jo (grill chef at the Butcher’s Tap & Grill). But, I still believe front-of-house staff are still not recognised as much as chefs.What are the barriers that are still to be overcome and how could this be tackled?
It would be great to see more media profiling for women in hospitality, IWD is great of course, but it’s one day and women should be celebrated throughout the year. You can’t become what you can’t see, so I’d like to see more female front-of-house, female managers, founders, directors, etc alongside the chefs we see like Angela Hartnett, Clare Smyth, Asma Kahn, etc. Campaigns like Choose Hospitality have been great to boost awareness and help bring new blood into hospitality.How can the sector #EmbraceEquity?
It’s important to nurture a culture of inclusivity and equity throughout the business. To have a diverse workforce you need to attract and recruit one. Diversity should be celebrated.