Blog. Spotlight on: CH&Co

June 14, 2021 | Author: Giuliana Vittiglio

Our virtual #HellandBack challenge is in full swing. We caught up with event sponsors, long-term supporters and advocates of our work CH&Co to find out a little more about them:


What have you learned from the past year and how are you incorporating this moving forward?

Over the last year, we’ve all had to adapt to a new way of working as well as learn new skills to work remotely and virtually. It’s been a year of Teams meetings, Zoom calls, being isolated in our spare rooms, sheds or at our kitchen tables, working, furloughed or flexi-furloughed and for some, juggling all of this around home schooling too. We’ve all had to deepen our commitment and trust in each other; to continue to show up, work hard and contribute as much, if not more, than we did before the pandemic.  One thing is for sure, we’ve all learned is just how resilient we really are, how much support there is between colleagues and teams, and how much we love what we do – all of which has driven our resilience and determination to get through!

A phrase that we’ve all referred to during the pandemic is that ‘we’re all in this together’ and ‘it’s okay not to be okay’. As well as keeping the wheels turning ready for reopening, we’ve made sure we’ve kept connected with all our people, suppliers, clients and customers (albeit online for the majority of time) to ensure everyone knows that ‘we are all in this together’ and to know how to reach out when things ‘weren’t ok’.

One of the biggest learnings throughout this is just how agile we are as an industry and a business. The speed in which we’ve flexed to close and reopen sites at short notice, respond to ever-changing guidance, adapt our services to support people throughout the pandemic with pop-up shops for key workers to get essential food items, home delivery services and services for pupils of key workers or vulnerable children, and adapt to a more digital way of life to keep our people, clients and customers informed has been incredible. And, by our very nature, how quick we are to step up and support those around us.  It’s always been that way – we work in hospitality - but what the pandemic has done is increase the spotlight on this and will continue to do so as we continue to come out of hibernation.


Given the current climate, what do you believe your biggest challenges are?

14 months on from the start of the pandemic, we are now seeing positivity aligned to the governments’ roadmaps but positivity doesn’t convert to cash.  Of course, there’s a time-lag and it’s impossible to do it perfectly and match the pound you spend with the pound you take.  We need to bring people back, invest up front, but we’re not realistically going to see the fruits of a volume increase until late summer.

As things reopen, the number of people dining with us is changing all the time and being able to meet our clients’ daily needs is a moving feast. Communication and working in partnership with clients is crucial as is being agile. Being quick to respond and implement change will most definitely be the focus areas moving forward. 

Another challenge we’re all currently facing is filling the positions that were lost as a result of Covid-19. Coupled together with the UK leaving the EU, the real challenge to fill hospitality jobs is remains a challenge for us all.

It’s important that we fully support our teams, possibly now more than ever. We have those that have been on furlough for over a year and will have understandable anxieties about returning to work, so we must ensure they have the training, support and welcome back they deserve. We also need to be aware that those that have worked throughout the pandemic, taking the strain of reduced resource, will be fatigued and we must make sure that we recognise this and give them support they need too. Everyone is going to respond to the reopening of our business and of life in general differently, and being mindful that we are all different and will cope with each stage differently is a challenge in itself, but an important one.


What inspired you to support #HellandBack?

As part of our Wellbeing Wednesday events that we’ve been delivering to our people, we’ve talked a lot about the available support from Hospitality Action’s Employee Assistance Programme and how important it has been to have such a wonderful resource available for our teams should they need it.  This inspired people to want to help and give back so HA can continue this vital work as the industry rebuilds and recovers.

As well as access to the EAP, people have been supported by the available funding avenues HA offers, many of us have bought the invisible chips and this is just another way that we can support HA.  In addition, having been coped up indoors for so long, Hell and Back is a great way for people to get back out in the fresh air too.


Why do you think the hospitality industry needs a charity like Hospitality Action?

The work and support offered by HA is absolutely necessary. As the 4th biggest sector in the UK a charity totally focused on our sector is so very important. The past year has shown how life can change on a knife-edge and it’s so reassuring for all hospitality workers to know that when the chips are down, there is genuine, valuable help out there.

To follow Team CH&Co’s #HellandBack journey click here.