Supplier opinion – Why you should take Mary Portas's advice and buy British

28 September 2012
Supplier opinion – Why you should take Mary Portas's advice and buy British

With her well-known ambition for transforming the UK high street, dedication to the "best of British" and, more recently, her love of UK manufacturing, self-proclaimed "Queen of Shops" Mary Portas looks as though she has the hospitality industry in her sights.

Her mission to kick-start British manufacturing, albeit largely for underwear, is now high on the agenda for us all thanks to her TV personality status. She has made the British public aware of the benefits of home-produced goods and now has their buy-in, so the hospitality industry needs to take note.

Hotels and restaurants should be championing British suppliers. After all, we've got some of the world's best cutlery, crockery and linen, to name a few, all being made right here on home soil. The appearance of these items on a dining table or guest room goes above and beyond pleasing customers - they're a deal maker or breaker. We've seen increased demand for our UK-finished linens - not only, we're told, because of their high quality, but also because of their British heritage - so there's no doubt in our minds there's proof in the tale.

We are all more aware of quality on the whole, and that determines whether an establishment deserves our custom. As Portas proclaims, "it's the little touches that count", so hotels riding high on the back of a busy summer and the popularity of "staycations", are making small changes, such as offering premium towels and bedding to upgrade their offering and get the edge over their competitors.

In order to ride the best of British wave, my advice would be to ask: "What would Mary do?" You won't go far wrong.

Raj Ruia, managing director at Richard Haworth

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