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Hospo Demo: who showed up, and spoke up

Published 20 October 2020

by Lisa Markwell

Estimates on numbers attending the HospoDemo yesterday vary, but there’s no doubting how passionate the attendees felt about hospitality’s dire situation. Jason Atherton and Yotam Ottolenghi both arrived early and stayed for hours, banging the drum – literally with wooden spoons and metaphorically by talking to reporters – to raise awareness on the damage being brought to businesses by Tier 2 and the curfew combined. Meanwhile a huge variety of people, from Fergus and Margot Henderson to Sally Abé to Ravinder Bhogal to Nicholas Balfe and very many others shook cocktail shakers, banged saucepans, dinged service bells, scraped graters and more for an uninterrupted cacophony aimed towards the Houses of Parliament. I can report that a former colleague who works in the building told me later that the sound could be heard loud and clear inside…

There was no shouting and almost everyone wore masks; hospitality people are generally good at demonstrating good practice outside, as in their establishments. But will it make a difference? Even if it didn’t, quite a few attendees came up to me to say they are interested in the idea of forming a union – food for thought there – and that they will encourage their teams, colleagues and friends to sign the petition calling for a minister for hospitality. 

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