Hospitality Action is calling on foodservice businesses to join Social Sunday, a national fundraising event on July 7. Stir it up caught up with the charity’s principal patron Jason Atherton to find out more…

Tell us a bit about Social Sunday

Social Sunday is a celebration of all that’s great in UK hospitality; the best food and drink served by happy and dedicated staff with the passion and drive to make your business succeed. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to raise vital funds for Hospitality Action’s work.

What are you doing for Social Sunday 2019?

I will be hosting Social Sunday at Pollen Street Social, Little Social and Social Eating House this year with some fantastic chefs joining us in the kitchen. A couple of our Social Company teams are also raising money for Social Sunday by taking part in Ride London and The Great North Run. We are also inviting all hospitality businesses to take part in this year’s campaign – whether you run a restaurant, hotel, pub or foodservice business we would love for you to join us for Social Sunday 2019, to make it an annual event with UK-wide recognition.

Why is it so important to have an organisation such as Hospitality Action?

It’s more important than ever that the industry comes together to help its own during difficult times, as it’s undoubtedly the most vulnerable in our industry who will come off worst. Hospitality Action works to support these people, offering vital assistance to all who work, or have worked within hospitality in the UK and who find themselves in crisis.

Mental health issues are no longer as taboo as they once were, how do you go about keeping your workforce happy and healthy?

Balance and respect is key, I work very closely with my team, meaning that my door is always open for people to come and speak to me if they have something on their mind. A lot of my team have worked with me for years and have families of their own – we all work really hard but have a great work/ life balance. Hospitality isn’t an easy career and has unsociable working hours so working as a close and friendly team is crucial.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?

I would stop the cost of everything going up constantly; rents, rates, utilities, they’re all sky high for hospitality businesses and they don’t seem to be stopping. At the same time customer spending has decreased due to the economic uncertainty making it really difficult to factor in the increase in costs.

You’ve worked alongside some famously fiery characters. How does your management style differ from the stereotypical kitchens of old?

I run a very calm kitchen, it’s impossible to work in chaos. It’s all about your brigade and managing a kitchen professionally – shouting doesn’t get you anywhere.

What do you do to alleviate stress?

Exercise, I love to keep fit and it really helps to calm my mind, I’m really into boxing and skiing at the moment.

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