The Hospitality Sector Council is launching the first in a series of accelerator events, designed to address workflow productivity within the UK hospitality industry. The inaugural event will take place at Oxford Brookes University on 22nd May 2024. 

The council is a collaborative effort between industry leaders and government, co-chaired by Dame Karen Jones, to deliver the first-ever Hospitality Strategy. The Innovation Working Group (IWG), a component of the council, is focused on the identification and promotion of actions to support the creation of the next generation of hospitality start-ups, encourage technology adoption and overcome barriers to innovation. 

Hospitality is one of the UK's most creative industries, as shown by its dynamic response to the pandemic, and yet, innovation across the sector has been historically low in comparison to others. In 2019, accommodation and food services accounted for just £46m of £26bn total R&D spend nationwide. Since pandemic restrictions were lifted and the industry was faced with new issues, innovation has further stalled. 

Research by the IWG earlier this year found productivity, alongside energy efficiency, ranks as one of the most important areas of focus for innovation among hospitality operators. It is the area the IWG aims to focus on in May; supported by the Hospitality Sector Council and its partners, the event is open and free to operators from restaurants, bars, pubs or cafés.

Jane O'Riordan, chair of Caravan Restaurants, Red Engine and Turtle Bay, is also a council member and chair of the IWG. She said: "Hospitality is a vibrant and immensely rewarding sector. But it moves at such a pace that we often don't have time to tackle innovative ways of addressing issues such as workflow productivity.

"We're excited to be launching this accelerator initiative with a simple but important goal: to find creative ideas and solutions that will benefit the entire industry. I look forward to bringing together operators, innovation experts, technologists, policymakers and professionals from related fields in our first facilitated workshop to develop actionable strategies to tackle labour-related challenges."

To apply for a place at the inaugural event, click here

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