The hotel industry’s reputation as a decent and decent place to work was hammered home on Saturday when The Times and many other mainstream media reported on the accusations at the table of restaurateur and chef Tom Kitchin .
Twelve former Kitchin Group employees in communication with Times reporter Gabriella Bennett told her how they experienced sexual harassment, physical and mental abuse, deprived of food, water, bathroom breaks, or proper rest during shifts of up to 18 hours.
The Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur has not made any official comment since the charges were laid, but The Guardian reports that Peter Southcott, chief executive of the Kitchin Group, said in a statement Friday: “Following allegations of unacceptable behavior , two senior staff members have been suspended while these complaints are subject to a thorough and independent investigation. We will not hesitate to take any action necessary. “
The law states that people are innocent until proven guilty, so we are awaiting the outcome and a statement from the Kitchin group on the validity of the claims. The claims first appeared on social media and continue to be made by people supporting the Guardian reports and other outlets, including the BBC.
The news follows similar accusations against the founders and management team of brewer and bar operator Brewdog. Brewdog immediately raised his hands without denying anything, but at the same time without acknowledging the allegations. A journey back to their ancient âpunk personifiedâ culture will be a difficult journey.
The timing of the recent accusations couldn’t come at a worse time for the hospitality industry as there are already severe shortages of people and skills and the toxic culture headlines in the mainstream media will only fuel reluctance a lot to work in the hotel industry. We spoke with two people in the industry who directly and indirectly face the people and skills dilemma.
Robert Richardson, CEO of the Institute of Hospitality, who reflected on the weekend news told us: âThe culture of aggressively managed workplaces has never been acceptable in our industry, nor in any other. . The recent allegations of toxic work environments at several leading companies and the outpouring of support for those affected should be seen as a warning to operations that breed aggressive and defensive cultures such as these will not be tolerated. Our industry is currently suffering from a shortage of talent and people, and our employees have more choices for whom to work, and employers who do not recognize their employees as their greatest asset will soon find themselves at the back of the pack.
Chef and restaurateur Asma Khan made it clear: âI don’t want this to sound like a witch hunt, but it seems like there are no last straws when it comes to allegations. abuse in restaurant kitchens. It is almost always a kitchen run in the name of a very famous male chef. If you have your name on it, the responsibility ends with you. Kitchin joins a long list of bosses who will get away with hanging around to dry someone lower in the pecking order.
Monitoring hoteliers on social media was also essential. On Twitter, Harry Murray MBE, president of Lucknam Park, tweeted bluntly: âBullying, bullying should not be tolerated. Owners and managers are responsible for creating an environment, culture and values ââto protect their staff. Likewise, Andrew Grahame, CEO of Farncombe Estate tweeted: âUnfortunately this is a cultural issue which is 100% influenced by the business owner. Every team member, regardless of ability, is valuable and bullying has no place in our great industry! Well said Harry and Andrew.
Hospitality has endured a lot throughout the pandemic and is now facing the biggest people and skills crisis in its history.
The shortages have seen many attempts to form new collaborative groups, countless zoom and team meetings have seen the many different sectors of the hospitality industry come together to seek remedies, but none have been identified to this day.
The problems can be divided into two broad categories, historical and pandemic. The pandemic has seen historic issues hibernate, but when the reopening began on April 12, they woke up. Young British nationals had tried to work in other industries and remained there. Non-UK nationals had been forced to leave the UK after Brexit. With a full reopening scheduled for July 19, there are approximately 188,000 vacant positions in the hotel industry.
With reputation, deserved or undeserved, at the top of the list of barriers to entry, reports such as the Kitchin group accused of long-term cultural abuse of people working with them only fuel the problem. How long can hospitality afford to tolerate such behavior?
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Hospitality & Catering News: The reputation of the hospitality industry has given the Kitchin Group another hammer blow. – July 4, 2021 – The reputation of the hotel industry receives another hammer blow from the Kitchin group.
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