When Schools and Businesses return to work, a new approach to Food and Hospitality will prevail

As with all periods of crisis, some sectors emerge stronger than others. The UK hospitality industry has been badly affected by the COVID-19 situation but it is nonetheless behaving with admirable strength, resilience and a renewed focus on the community. Throughout the country, kitchens are being mobilised to feed those who are most vulnerable and in need; hotel groups are housing the homeless, others are helping the health services and many more are supporting local initiatives in their various forms.

In the midst of the chaos, hospitality is standing tall and highlighting itself as a sector that places people and communities centre stage. There is a strong belief that this moment in time will see a shift in how the industry is viewed. However badly battered it may be at the current time, hospitality continues to demonstrate leadership, care, compassion and the very essence of its core philosophy: a desire to serve and place others first.

At EP, we have long argued that such a skillset is one of the most important for people to have in their armoury. Now, with all that’s happening in the world, this is finally being recalled, recognised and valued.

As we all emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, we could well witness a new era for foodservice and hospitality. People will want to work with those who were there for them in their moment of need; food will become ever more important in everyday life; and after an extended period of isolation, people will want to come together once again.

Similarly, we also believe that food service in schools will carry greatly enhanced importance. No longer will people be complacent over obesity, mental health, nutrition and well-being. Admittedly there was already a shift in the right direction before this crisis but it’s becoming clear that this unprecedented global event will speed up the rate of positive change still further. In short, food should always have been central to nurturing young lives but after this crisis, it will need to be.

We are therefore proud to be hosting the EPCISAwards for Excellence in Education towards the end of 2020. If ever there was a time to celebrate hospitality at the heart of educational life, it is now.

With that in mind, we are delighted that our partnership with Swiss Education Group both emphasises and underpins the need for skills and excellence in first-class hospitality education, while at the same time nurturing and developing young people.

Annie Dunning, Head of Partnership Development for UK, Ireland and the Netherlands commented:
“We at Swiss Education Group are pleased to be working in collaboration with the EPCIS Education Excellence Awards. As a worldwide ambassador of best practice,we are partnering with Scottish education to promote and provide a variety of English language educational courses – including Diploma, Bachelor and Masters programmes – across five of Switzerland’s top educational establishments.”

EPCIS thanks Annie and Swiss Education Group for standing with us during this unprecedented period of change.

And amid the COVID-19 crisis, there are further examples of the industry coming together for the good of the country as a whole. Over the last few days, bespoke caterers and hospitality specialists, Thomas Franks, have mobilised dozens of kitchens to help the elderly and vulnerable.

Founder, Frank Bothwell, said:
“We’re working with our clients, suppliers, staff and partners to use Thomas Franks client facilities to keep our local communities fed.‘Our mission is to provide healthy, delicious meals at low cost and to keep our team of more than 1,600 people working for the benefit of those who most need our support.”

He added: “Our clients have offered the use of their kitchens and facilities, our network of over 400 family-run suppliers are providing support, and our highly trained chefs and kitchen teams are producing high quality, nutritious food.

“The team have put together a menu of main courses and puddings to be supplied packaged and chilled, ready for reheating by the recipients. It’s a fantastic opportunity for companies and operators in lockdown to lend their support to local communities.”

Organisations such as Swiss Education Group and Thomas Franks are demonstrating genuine care and leadership at the worst of times and from this, we know that we can work together to place hospitality centre stage once again when all this uncertainty is over.