BHA and Restaurant Association together again after 35 years
The Restaurant Association this week partially merged with the British Hospitality Association (BHA), 35 years after the organisations parted company.
With immediate effect, the Restaurant Association will occupy office space in the BHA's London headquarters and two restaurant members will now serve on the BHA national executive. Restaurant Association members were keen to stress that the new relationship is not a full merger, however.
The two associations have re-established their links for a number of reasons, including making their Government lobbying more effective and saving money.
David Harrold, acting chief executive of the Restaurant Association, said: "The Government has been pressing for fewer but bigger voices to be heard from lobbyists."
Money will be saved immediately because the Restaurant Association moved out of its offices in Kingsway, London, on Tuesday (7 January) and took up space in the BHA's offices in nearby Lincoln's Inn Fields.
The Restaurant Association's lease had come to an end and its rent was set to more than double from £12,000 to £25,000 a year.
Despite the new links, Restaurant Association chairman Nick Scade, who runs the New Mill restaurant in Eversley, Hampshire, said: "The BHA will do our lobbying for us, but we will continue to run our committee as before. We will also pick up their restaurant committee, which represents about 1,000 restaurants with rooms."
Scade will now serve on the BHA national executive as one of the two restaurant representatives. He said: "There has been no negative response from our members. The committee were 100% behind it, although it did take a little explaining at first."
The Restaurant Association represents 3,000 businesses. The BHA has 35,000 members.
by David Harris