The government has launched the first ever dedicated strategy for the hospitality sector to help businesses build back better and greener from the pandemic.
The strategy contains measures under three pillars – reopening, recovery and resilience. Among its aims are to help the sector address current recruitment challenges including a lack of chefs and waiting staff; bring businesses together with universities to boost innovation; and reduce waste and plastic consumption.
Measures to support reopening include the extension of pavement licences so that pubs, restaurants and cafes can offer al fresco dining, and the continuation of rules allowing takeaway drinks to be sold for another 12 months.
On the environment, the strategy does not feature any brand new initiatives but sets out a broad ambition to help businesses reduce waste and single-use plastic consumption, and help ensure any recyclable waste produced is collected for recycling. The government also plans to create and share best practice on environmental guidance to help businesses decarbonise supply chains and achieve net zero.
On skills, the government said it would work with the sector to raise the profile of skills and careers in hospitality and explore options for vocational training offers that support career paths in the sector.
The government also plans to bring sector leaders and businesses together with universities to support the creation of the next generation of hospitality start-ups, and encourage companies to take advantage of emerging technology and digital trends.
A new hospitality sector council made up of industry leaders and government ministers is being created to oversee the delivery of the strategy. The council will agree an action plan to deliver the recommendations, review progress against the plan and monitor the overall recovery of the sector. It will be co-chaired by business minister Paul Scully and hospitality entrepreneur Karen Jones with further members announced in due course.
Industry leaders welcomed the new strategy. UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said “it provides our sector with a strong platform to deliver the supportive regulatory and trading environment we need to recover, rebuild resilience and thrive”.