St. Louis Hospitality Pros grappling with the future of the industry

  • Industry professionals will meet on Monday to discuss the way forward for hospitality professionals.

The evolution of the hospitality industry after a year and a half of unprecedented challenges will be the topic of discussion this Monday at an industry roundtable held at the Mad Art Gallery.

The event, titled “Rebuilding Our Community Together”, will be hosted by Catherine Neville, media personality and chief curator of Herman Farm and Museum, with the aim of bringing people together to share their thoughts on how the community food and drinks can rebuild itself as a more inclusive community. industry and one that builds its people.

“The pandemic has hit and the food and beverage industry has just been wiped out,” Neville said. “We find that people don’t come back, and they don’t come back for a reason. The pay isn’t great, the hours can be really tough, and often times there aren’t any perks. It can really be. hard to balance work and life. There are also a lot of issues with sexism, racism and all those ‘isms that people don’t want to face. I think the industry is at an inflection point where people need to take a look why people aren’t coming back and how to make it healthier and more supportive and allow for personal and professional growth. ”

The roundtable is hosted by Natasha Bahrami of the Gin Room, who hosted the event on the sidelines of her gin symposium, Ginworld. Although she generally uses her Ginworld platform as an educational tool, she was a firm believer that she wanted to set aside time for this important discussion.

“Over the past month, we’ve tried to revive the industry through informal wine-related meetings on our patio, and many conversations have centered around concerns about the industry’s future sustainability and even frustration. about inclusion and women in the industry, ”Bahrami says.“ I had several groups that came to me, and we all felt we had to come together and work together because we all have the same problems. ”

One of the issues reported by Bahrami and Neville is the current staff crisis which has made it difficult for restaurants and bars to find the help they need to operate at full capacity. Bahrami, Neville and roundtable attendees hope the event will spark a conversation about ways to not only bring people back but also nurture a new generation of talent, especially for the drinks side of the business.

“In the food world, not everyone goes to culinary school, but there is that option, as well as the ability to stage what’s cooked,” says Neville. “It’s part of what you do to get good, and we don’t see the same reflected in drinks. It makes sense to talk about a mentorship program to help young people who really want to kill it in the industry. ”

Veteran bartender Tony Saputo has this idea in mind for Platypus, the next bar he will open with his professional beverage colleague Meredith Barry. He is eager to participate in the discussion not only to share his ideas, but to learn from others.

“I think right now the most important thing for us is the labor issue that everyone has,” says Saputo. “It’s a challenge to attract new people. This mentoring mindset is why we say at Platypus that we deliberately don’t want people with experience. We want people to come in excited. by a job which may know nothing but who are ready to learn. ”

Saputo joins other industry professionals, including Barry, Ted Kilgore, Phil Ingrim, Alicia Blackwell-Calvert, Brad Phillips and many more, for a conversation that promises to be lively. The event, which starts at 11 a.m., is free and open to all and lunch will be provided. To register, go here.

We are always hungry for advice and feedback. Email the author at [email protected]

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