This year's Hotelympia will mark International Women's Day with a programme of events to celebrate the work of women in hospitality. The Caterer explores what inspiration visitors can expect
Full details on the speakers are yet to be released, but the day will include presentations from Amy Lamé, the Mayor of London's first ever Night Czar. She will be discussing her role, her background in hospitality and entertainment, and the importance of the capital's night-time economy. Joining Lamé on the bill will be Emily Roux, who will be speaking on the Launch Pad - one of the new knowledge hubs at Hotelympia 2018 - about her family legacy and what it's like for young people, and women especially, to work in the industry. They will be joined by other female hospitality entrepreneurs and up-and-coming stars.
elympia portfolio director Ross Carter explains: "With recent statistics from the Change Group highlighting that it is men who currently dominate hospitality senior managerial roles, as well as ownership of restaurants and catering establishments, it has never been more important to use our platform as the UK's biggest hospitality event to debate what the industry can do to progress more female talent through the ranks.
"But it's not just about progressing younger candidates, we need further thinking around how we welcome women back into the workforce following maternity, and there is also the wider and more fragmented issue of the gender pay gap at play."
Carter says that, with 11,000 extra chefs required over the next five years, the industry needs to do more to attract women into the kitchen. He adds: "There are already signs of green shoots with the number of female chefs in the UK reportedly growing by 34% over the past 12 months - the biggest single rise over the past five years - but more needs to be done."
Hotelympia's new knowledge hubs, the Hospitality Futures stage and Launch Pad, will play host to much of the programme of content, which is being curated by Alessandra Alonso, consultant and founder of social enterprise Women in Travel CIC.
She says: "I am honoured and delighted to curate the Women in Hospitality day for Hotelympia. As the founder of Women in Travel CIC - a social enterprise that aims to empower women through employability and entrepreneurship in travel tourism and hospitality - and somebody who has supported and advocated for women in the sector for almost 20 years, I believe that women are the backbone of the industry, but not enough is being done to celebrate and indeed foster their contribution to and engagement with the sector.
"I praise Hotelympia for launching a day that will hopefully become a feature of the show and that will see women and men come together to share, learn, inspire, network and mentor each other on important issues such as entrepreneurship, leadership, flexible working, talent and career development and many others. Ultimately, it is about making the whole industry more diverse and inclusive to secure its sustainable future."
elympia's Women in Hospitality Day will celebrate successes, look at challenges and opportunities for women in the industry, showcase both female and male champions, and give visitors the opportunity to connect with industry leaders. Top of mind will be the contribution made by female hospitality entrepreneurs, alongside up-and-coming stars behind some of the UK's most exciting start-ups.
Martin-Christian Kent, executive director of People 1st, who will be speaking at the show, says that improving gender diversity in hospitality is a key issue if the sector is to resolve its skills shortages.
He adds: "This means doing more to attract, develop and retain talent. Our recent research highlights the dilemma for many businesses already operating on wafer-thin margins, when it comes to offering competitive salaries, realistic hours, tangible development and a good working environment.
"Better gender diversity could also help to solve the shortage of chefs, which is now having a real impact on business strategy and the way restaurants and food businesses of all types operate. Projections suggest that at least 11,000 additional chefs will be needed over the next five years, but the proportion of female chefs has remained at 24% since 2011. Attracting more female chefs is critical to helping to resolve the shortage and our research also shows that a better balance of men and women has a positive impact on the dynamics of a kitchen."
The government has set a deadline of March 2018 for businesses with more than 250 staff to report their gender pay gap, and Kent believes that the increased focus on equal pay will have a positive impact on businesses.
The Women in Hospitality Day at Hotelympia is being supported by the Institute of Hospitality, which seeks to encourage and support managers of any gender reach their potential. Chief executive Peter Ducker FIH adds: "Globally, 70% of hospitality and tourism workers are female, and yet men hold the vast majority of management and board positions. We believe that better engagement of women in hospitality workplaces at all life stages - through flexible working, gender psychology, mentoring and leadership - would make our industry more efficient and more profitable."
The four shows that make up Hotelympia 2018
The Professional Kitchen Show
The Professional Kitchen Show is designed to offer a comprehensive view of everything new in catering equipment and kitchen design. Backed by key manufacturing and wholesale groups, it welcomes over 150 dedicated exhibitors to the show floor - the largest gathering of its kind in the UK. Over a dozen of the UK's most exciting chefs will also be in attendance, offering up interactive cooking demos, including Dan Doherty and Paul Ainsworth.
Interiors and Tableware Show
The Interiors and Tableware Show will feature an array of suppliers, including pioneering design houses and interior specialists. Hotelympia has partnered with SquareMeal, the market-leading independent restaurant guide, to help uncover what constitutes the 'ultimate dining experience'. The results will be brought to life in a unique experiential installation at the show with the help of property-based design, project management and development company LXA.
The Foodservice Show
The Foodservice Show celebrates the dynamism and depth of innovation within the foodservice market. Hosting key suppliers and artisan start-ups, the show will also include Café Commerce, featuring innovative coffee-focused suppliers. The show will also host the International Salon Culinaire, at which chefs will do battle in four competitive elements: La Parade de Chefs, Salon Display, Live Theatre and the student-focused Skills Theatre.
Hospitality Tech Show
With technology revolutionising the way we interact with food suppliers, the Hospitality Tech Show will champion the brightest new products and solutions emerging from hospitality tech players. The Hospitality Tech Innovation Theatre will feature seminars, panel discussions and talks around key technology issues and challenges.
For more information on the content schedule at Hotelympia and to registeryour attendance, visit hotelympia.com.
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