“The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.” (Ulysses S. Grant)

One of the strong underlying themes of this time is that many have found new confidence, even a new belief in daily life through rediscovering communities and helping one another. It was another former US President who noted that “Confidence is found through unselfish behaviours” and it is such behaviours which many have found pleasure and new friendships through over the past three months. The concept of service has once again come to the fore.

There is no doubting that most countries face a daunting and challenging time ahead as businesses and economies are rebuilt. However there is optimism about the long term future and a strong belief that hospitality can play an important and central role in the future; in social and cultural sustainability, in tourism, in economies all across the world and in breaking down barriers.

Service to others, as a concept, is once again growing. There has been a deep frustration with the perceived self-interest of politicians and businesses; a frustration which is seeing the balance change with many in the emerging generations now believing that service to others creates a natural purpose and definition to life.

The Millennial generation is showing the highest volunteer rates of any generation: they value helping others, buying food that’s eco-friendly, supporting products and organizations that are socially conscious and want to do good in their community and in the world. Companies all across the world are going to be asked, by consumers and employees; do you meet these criteria?

For hospitality this does mark a significant opportunity; arguably the greatest opportunity it has faced in its long and proud history. Hospitality companies have shown during the Covid-19 crisis that they can play an active role in communities, helping the vulnerable and supporting those who face food poverty. Hospitality also today has a stronger genuine purpose in how it can interact and operate with communities, in how it can tell the story of local cultures and histories, can it can talk to global audiences and break down traditional barriers. Hospitality can operate with genuine purpose as it can be a leading role model in how it serves others.

“Chefs have the power to change the world”

It has long been argued that chefs do possess the power to create genuine social change if they could really come together and work as one. It is food which is one the true universal language, it is argued, and food which brings people together to break down barriers. Of course, there is sound logic to the argument but in truth is unlikely to happen as firstly, chefs are skilled in their craft with a passion for their skill rather than possessing any passion of social activism. Secondly, restaurants are often working to low margins and do not create great wealth to lead any global change.

A restaurant though is a stage which can educate and break down barriers. This is an important asset in itself.

The saying above really should be that “hospitality has the power to change the world” for it does, both locally and globally. Service can really be a purpose for in a world which has been dominated by anxiety, stress and tension, it can bring relief and break down traditional tensions