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Industry Forum Event with Hosco and Le Cordon Bleu


Recently Le Cordon Bleu London held an online industry forum event in partnership with Hosco, the professional network specially designed for the hospitality industry, to discuss the future of hospitality, and asking the question; The Great Reopening: How Prepared is Hospitality?

The event was chaired by Le Cordon Bleu London lecturer Nitin Radhakrishnan and Hosco’s Senior PR and Marcom Manager, Zhandra Fuentes, who were joined by panellists Ragnar Fridriksson, Managing Director for The World Association of Chefs Societies (Worldchefs); Fabrice Tessier, VP School Relations and Partnerships Talent & Culture at Accor Group; Zahra Al Yousuf, Talent Acquisition Manager at Jumeirah Group; and Dusti Guzman, Global HR Director for Zuma, Oblix and Roka.

Zhandra Fuentes opened the discussion with some statistics gathered by Hosco in a survey they are conducting quarterly with hospitality employers. The survey, titled The Hospitality Pulse, aims to gather vital information on the state of recruitment in the industry and gauge how employers are feeling about the future of hospitality.

In April, the survey showed that 28% are already hiring, but hiring is predicted to peak from Q3 onwards, as employers secure staff for the busy summer months. A reported 32 % have a positive outlook for the future of the industry, and 56 % betting on fully recovering their team operation capacity during 2022 with the highest re-staffing peak expected in Q2 of 2022. The area that employers are finding the most challenging is workforce engagement, and those who had to find alternative employment during the pandemic are hesitant to return to hospitality.

Following these facts, the discussion was opened to the panellists, starting with a question regarding how consumer behaviour has changed since businesses have started to reopen. One difference everyone agreed on was that customers have a much stronger concern for good hygiene, and additional training has been essential to ensure customers and staff feel safe.

Focussing on recruitment and retention in the hospitality industry, Ragnar Fridriksson asserted how the focus should be on setting industry standards for skills and training. He emphasised the importance of investing in people and showing that hospitality is a viable long-term career path.

Hosco have been bringing schools and companies together to see how training can be improved and looking at how schools can incorporate the skills employers are looking for into their. Zhandra Fuentes commented "Companies are looking for skilled qualified talent, and that’s what schools are bringing to the industry". Ragnar Fridriksson added "Education is one of our primary concerns and working with the education sector is really crucial for us…we want to engage the whole industry in setting global certification standards."

Fabrice Tessier highlighted some of the most important qualities employers are looking for when recruiting today, namely innovation, networking, digital skills, interpersonal skills, and customer services. Zahra Al Yousuf, added that staying with one company and working your way up is also important, and Dusti Guzman added "Longevity within a company and an organisation giving the opportunity to grow and learn is very attractive."

The panel concluded that the future of hospitality lies in investing in people and growing their skills, but also a greater focus on wellbeing. Ultimately the feeling is that the industry will recover, and has the potential to become even better than before.

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