I’ve never loved and admired hospitality more then what I have over these past few months.
Like most industries, we in hospitality have been hammered throughout the pandemic. Colleagues of immense quality and character have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and nobody could begrudge individuals for permanently walking away from their hospitality careers and choosing a less vulnerable sector. But through all the chaos, setbacks, and uncertainty, what I’ve seen, and what I have been fortunate enough to be part of, has done nothing but strengthen my pride in the hospitality family.
I am proud of the style in which we emerge from some of the toughest weeks of our careers. Weeks that are so searingly exhausting and bereft of good news that at times you can almost feel the breaking point breathing down our necks. But somehow, a new day begins and we front back up to work with our personalities and senses of humour intact, and still with the desire to soldier forward.
I am proud to see colleagues pushing aside inner-doubts and vulnerability about COVID-19 to look after guests and each other. I see the constant strain in their eyes, and the mental and emotional exhaustion, but I see the same people burying these inner-battles for the good of the team. I know the rational that it is not healthy to keep those inner-battles hidden, but there are times when we need to do just that, and to see colleagues doing this for the benefit of others is genuinely inspiring.
I am proud to see colleagues taking team work to another level by jumping in without hesitation to assist in areas that often they have very little knowledge or skills in. The performance and end product may not be as good as what we know it could be, but their willingness to contribute invariably carries the day.
I am proud to see colleagues continuously get the job done by using the absolute bare minimum of resources. Hell we have become so effective at doing this that even MacGyver, the king of making something out of nothing, would give us a nod of approval.
I am proud to see these reduced resources leading us to go beyond our traditional creative boundaries, and finding the buzz in realizing that we can do things that previously may not have been considered.
I am proud of the remarkable lack of complaining. A colleague spoke recently about how he had his ‘ass handed to him three times in one day’ such was the intensity of the breakfast, lunch, and dinner shift. There was no moping about. No blaming anybody. Instead, just an attitude of ‘these are the cards that we have got right now, so let’s just get better, and get on with it.’
I am proud of how resilient we are. For all the pushing of our limits, we as an industry have shown an inner strength that means we are still not even close to breaking.
I am even proud to see the occasional outburst and venting session. It tells me that despite the pressure, despite the relentless intensity, we still have the expectation that we will perform with excellence, and that we will succeed.
I have no clue what 2021 will bring us. But what I do know is that for all the brutal hits that the pandemic has smacked us with, as an industry, hospitality has never shone brighter.