Why we must go back to basics in 2010
For this week's cover feature, Festive Seasoning, we invited industry movers and shakers to describe their favourite part of 2009.
"Seeing the end of it", responded restaurateur Claudio Pulze. "What a terrible year for our industry".
As for what we should all look forward to most in 2010, Compass Group's UK executive chef Nick Vadis spoke for us all when he said "getting out of the economic downturn and putting the Great back into Britain".
Yet, despite the country's slide into recession this year, the hospitality industry has sidestepped the bloodbath of insolvency that many predicted back in January. Sure, there have been job losses and corporate casualties, all of them regrettable, but through a combination of creativity and careful husbandry, the majority of operators have managed to keep trading.
Next year promises to be just as challenging, maybe even more so. With operators having trimmed all excess fat this year, there are no more bottom-line savings to be made, meaning the only possible course of action is to do the basics well and trade out of the downturn.
Last week, more than 50 eminent hoteliers gathered at The Vineyard in Stockcross in honour of the 2009 Hotelier of the Year, Red Carnation MD, Jonathan Raggett.
During the debate that preceded the celebration lunch, the general manager of the Hyatt Regency London - the Churchill, Michael Gray, offered the following advice for 2010: "Keep inspiring and motivating staff and maintain a forensic control of costs, but don't take away from the quality of your product and look after your guests."
This sounds as good a New Year's resolution as any for the industry to commit to.
Happy Christmas to all of our readers from everyone on the Caterer Group team.
Mark Lewis, Editor, Caterer and Hotelkeeper