What role does hospitality play in inspiring others to live better?
Londoners eat out on average almost four times a week. The time people spend gathering together to eat is still one of the most powerful social conventions and tools yet the art of conversation appears to have declined. It is strange that as people eat out more, the view is that many struggle with the art of conversation and traditional social skills yet these are seen as crucial to success in life.
Hospitality sits so centrally at the heart of our lives – and arguably more so than ever before.
Two of the most common comments we receive are:
- We need to make food more central to our lives and for people to understand the importance of good food.
- It is very important for people to just spend some time to sit down over a meal and take time to socially interact – whether at home over dinner, at school or the workplace. More and more people are snacking, eating at their desks, eating in front of the television or eating whilst listening to their ipods but it is not healthy.
Does hospitality have a role to play in raising this awareness?
Breaking Bread is a campaign that encourages the industry to get people to be more conscious about their time together when sitting down to enjoy a meal.
This theme ties in closely with many of the central ideas that run through many discussion that EP has had in all sectors of the industry. Today emails start arriving at 6am, texts from about 6.30am and it all seems to go on until about 9pm in the evening. We are all eternally accessible through email, mobile, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – and the rest. Communication is constant and time to just stop and think is almost non-existent.
In some ways, it is impressive how just everyone has adapted to the speed of modern life but no one seems to have time to just stop and think/reflect. There surely needs to be a better balance?
Add in a few other facts:
- The average working days has increased by 15% in the last decade
- Executives read 30% more data each day
- The time for making a decision has reduced by 45%
Of course, there is a danger that it all becomes a bit “preachy” but the truth is that hospitality sits centrally in everyone’s lives in one way or another and maybe the industry can work together to promote the importance of great food and taking the time to just sit, reflect and talk? In a sense hospitality has never had a better opportunity to promote its attributes by promoting good social practice.
The counter and confirmation is the rise of eating out as part of our social lives. People do eat out more often but it is often casual dining. This shows the central role that hospitality play in everyone’s lives. The question is has this increased frequency taken away from the meaning that an evening out used to have? Are we conscious of the time that we are spending with others – or has this just become another automated process?
This can reach all corners of daily life – schools, workplace, hotels, restaurants, pubs and more. Just 15 minutes a day to sit, talk and reflect with some good food would be a step forward for many.
It may be an old fashioned ideal but one that is as important today as ever.
In association with Chefs Adopt a School
To get involved with the Breaking Bread campaign please contact Arlene McCaffrey