Era Of Change

Lawrence Morison, Managing Director of Business Coffee Solutions writes about what it is that makes him passionate.

Some time ago I was asked to write a piece and when I asked what they would like me to write about the response was “whatever makes you passionate.”

I racked my brain as there are many things, I can get passionate about Football, Rugby, Donald Trump etc. but when I thought about it more seriously, I decided that my passion really lay in what was a major part of my life. Hospitality and Catering.

Having spent a large part of my life in International Catering Companies, two start-up organisations and now in an exiting Work Cafe business which started a few years ago, I realised I was really passionate about Hospitality and Service.

I was also fortunate to be involved with an international Interiors company and learned a lot about the changing workplace.

This research carried out was around what changes are expected to take place within the working environment and the people who will be working in the companies in the future.

It was clear to me that these changes would significantly affect the Catering and Hospitality Industry and in particular Business and Industry. Both large and small companies would need to understand this in order to provide the services needed in the future.

The only problem is that the future is now, it has happened, it is happening and at a significant rate. Understanding what is happening is critical, working with the thought leaders within the business environment is critical, Architects, Designers, Real Estate Companies, and any other organisation involved in the Workplace.

Traditionally catering and the offer is often the last thought and therefore has to fit in with what is already there which is seldom a recipe for success.

If you think about some of the things that are happening or will happen in the near future, then I believe that the hospitality industry can lead the way by being creative. We can change the current “norm” to reflect what is happening now and what will happen.

It is fair to say that that is not easy, it is challenging and sometimes frightening as it is a leap in the dark but as they say, if we don’t do it then someone else will.

Disruption and disrupters are a fact of life now and there is no sign of that changing or easing up. Think of some of the recent changes to our industry, Just Eat, Uber Eats, Amazon delivery within 1 hour, Coffee shops, We Space, Hotels considering changing the traditional F & B offering to reflect customer requirements of eating a take-away in the room.

Then if we consider the changes in the staff there are currently 5 Generations in the workplace and how they were managed in the 20th Century will not work in the 21st. Millennials’ will be 50% of the workforce by 2021. Generation Z have already entered the workplace. People are working longer and retiring much later.

So, what does all of this mean for business? Well, offices have to be designed in a very different way to reflect the need to satisfy the requirements of these different generations to help make the business successful, creative and a great place to work and play.

Food Service needs to understand and respond to this and reflect offerings that satisfy the way people eat today and their differing requirements. Veganism is rising and will continue to do so. Younger people are more aware of the environment and care about the planet. This means companies can’t just have a statement on the wall, they really need to do something meaningful for the environment.

For food service this will mean significant competition from “new kids on the block” who are agile, quick to listen, respond and change. They will need to come up with ideas that reflect and accommodate the new ways of working and the staff employed.

Employers will be in a war for talent and will have to offer exciting new environments that will attract the best staff and keep them.

There is nothing short of a revolution happening within the workplace and food service companies, large or small can play a major part in this, but they must position themselves at the right level and lead the change.

Food plays such an important part in the working environment; everyone is a coffee aficionado now and no longer will a tin of coffee be acceptable. A fully trained Barista serving a Latte with Coconut Milk and beans grown in Vietnam by a farmer who is rewarded properly by the organisation buying his product is now the norm.

The change in technology is truly amazing and will continue at a faster rate than ever before in ways we can’t even imagine yet. Food Service will need to keep up with this and introduce their own advances in technology which ensure the customer a simpler, more enjoyable and personalised experience at work.

More and more companies, working with A & D are specifying workplaces that provide spaces where employees can collaborate, focus and become creative. In those area’s food service can be advantageous to and support creativity such as Juice, Coffee and Superfoods as examples.

Gone are the days of large staff restaurants. Today, there may be a different offering in parts of the building within a very different environment. Large kitchens and fit-outs will be a thing of the past. Real Estate is too expensive, and workspaces need to combine an environment where work, pleasure and technology mix seamlessly.

I haven’t even mentioned Global Warming, Brexit and all the other things that are out there and will continue to affect the food service industry.

So, this is my passion. I am truly excited by the changes both in the workplace and the new generations who work together in exciting environments served by innovative food service companies providing products and services that reflect the modern world.

Companies large and small can succeed in this new environment, working in partnership to provide services that are exciting and reflect the needs and wants of staff within the organisation.

For too long our industry has been seen as the poor relation, and our staff have not had the recognition they deserve. I truly believe that the comments outlined above can help if we move quickly, work with organisations that understand the environment and keep ahead of changes that haven’t even been thought of yet.