Welcome to our 24th edition, the centenary edition, celebrating a century of flight and some hero brands that have been successfully leading their field for over 100 years. You will read that our travels have been extensive once again and, at the risk of being too cynical, I was continually reminded of the dilemma facing the hospitality industry.
Some months ago, it was my 18-year-old son that articulated the problem beautifully as he himself entered the world of hospitality, looking to carve out a career in this remarkable industry. My issue is simple; we are rapidly losing the great career waiters and hotel staff, as if they are becoming an endangered species.
Having just spent five weeks on the road across Milan, Doha, Paris and London, what became glaringly apparent was that the art of waiting and hospitality is deteriorating at an alarming rate. No longer do we see 18-year-olds seeking out a career, prepared to commit to one of the most exciting international professions.Back to my son, his summary was spot on. The millennials want everything now – and don’t expect them to start anywhere near the bottom or, for that matter, spend anywhere near enough time to develop any sort of knowledge required to create long-term skills.
As I explained to my son, where can you go and travel the world, learn multiple skills and crafts, establish a CV that can see you running a major global brand, and all on the employer’s dime? I had the pleasure of spending time with Giovanni from The Dorchester London, a 62-year-old from Milano who had been in the industry since he left school at 16 years old. He spent 35 years at The Dorchester running one of the most talked-about cocktail bars in London.