A successful hotel or restaurant is a wonderful thing. Nurtured and well-looked after staff will serve happy guests and customers within a business which shows a healthy balance sheet and is sustainable for the future. Unfortunately, though, this is not always the reality. Insolvency figures show that the hospitality industry frequently records more than 100 closures every month.
While the difficult economic climate in recent years has been partly to blame for these failures, more often than not the owners have been ill-prepared when setting up the operation in the first place. Good planning, along with surrounding yourself with the best professionals and advisors, is crucial to the long-term success of a business. Along with sound culinary and front-of-house skills, running a hospitality business today also requires financial acumen, sensitivity in handling difficult staffing situations and knowledge of complicated red-tape requirements.
Individuals who take the time to first hone their trade over many years at a well-respected establishment and then spend hours, weeks, months and even years researching the details required for opening their own business, will flourish into stars. This is indeed what has happened to the likes of Agnar Sverrisson and Xavier Rousset at Texture, Chris Bentham and Abigail Rose at the Black Boy, and Ollie Dabbous at Dabbous - all former protégés of mine who have been supported and advised as they have gone their own way - and who feature in this week's issue of Caterer and Hotelkeeper, of which I have had the privilege to guest edit.
As well as celebrating the alumni of Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons and Brasserie Blanc, this issue also looks at two subjects particularly dear to my heart - the importance of sustainability in our industry and the contribution that the often-overlooked department of housekeeping has upon a successful hotel.
I've very much enjoyed the opportunity to put this issue of the magazine together, I hope you enjoy reading it, too.
Raymond Blanc, Guest editor