Hotelier of the Year 2019 Sally Beck has called on the industry to change the perception of hospitality careers and dispel a reputation of "long hours and poor salaries".
Beck, general manager of the Royal Lancaster London, called on those gathered at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London for the Hotel Cateys 2019 on Friday evening to sign up to a charter to follow employment practices including flexible working patterns, fair pay and career development.
She told the more than 750 people gathered: "Winning this award, has given me an opportunity to reflect on the past 36 winners and the changes that have occurred in our industry and the challenges that we, madly, still face in being seen as an industry of choice for the young people of Britain.
"To many, we are still seen as a stop gap in a young person's career journey, with still so many people falling into roles with us and then staying, rather than choosing us as a career.
"Sadly, we are still known for long hours and poor salaries. TV programmes like Hell's Kitchen do nothing to dispel the negative noise about working in our kitchens. The government, now needing to legislate on how we handle service charge and tipping does not do us any credit either.
"With the coming of Brexit, in whatever form, it is more important than ever for us to shout about the positives of being in our industry.
"Since winning this award, I have been exploring how a Hoteliers' Charter could be a platform to shout about all of the good things that hoteliers like us are doing anyway, so that potential employees and indeed their parents, colleges and universities, can know that they will be supported and developed in their career choice for the long term."
The charter, which has gained the backing in principal of Ed Bracken, chair of the West London Hotel Managers Association; Chris Gamm, editor of The Caterer; Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality and Danny Pecorelli, chair of the Master Innholders.
Beck said the charter would publicise opportunities and working practises such as:
A fair and transparent service charge
Flexible working patterns through 7 days and 24 hours to support working families and students
Free hot and cold meals whilst on duty for all colleagues
Paying at least the National Minimum Wage with goals to getting closer to the living wage
Supporting industry charities and the environment
Offering well-being programmes, career development and mentoring
Annual pay reviews based on performance
Pension and financial advice to all including those heading to retirement
The Hotelier of the Year 2019 asked those interested in joining the project to contact her via email at email@example.com.