ISS UK BLOG - FIVE MINUTE READ

Young ISS talent joins the conversation to inspire the next generation of hospitality leaders.

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In February 2021, two of ISS’ emerging thought leaders, Ellen Potts and Natalie Tuckwood joined the first Arena Futures virtual discussion panel titled ‘Growing into 2021’. Here they explore some of the themes discussed.

Attracting talent and building consumer confidence

After the monumental impacts of COVID-19 on the food service industry, the launch of Arena Futures in 2019 proved very timely.

Millennial and Gen-Z panellists launch first Arena Futures event     

A sub-set of hospitality network, Arena, Arena Futures is designed for younger people, or anyone who is new to the food service and catering industry. 
We’re both passionate about inspiring young talent to join our sector so when the opportunity arose to join the Arena Futures Committee in 2019, alongside other young professionals from across the service industry, we were delighted to get involved.

Following the cancellation of our in-person events in 2020, the virtual event with fellow committee members, Karis Thomas (Arena Futures Chairwoman) and Victoria Joseph was a great time to reach out to our peers to discuss some of the things happening right now and in the post-pandemic future. We were presented with insights and questions from host Katy Moses – Managing Director of KAM Media, a Hospitality Consumer Research agency.

From tech and brand, to safety- what young consumers want

From the importance of brand transparency to the lasting impacts of COVID-19 on the hospitality sector, we found it a thought-provoking debate. In response to Katy’s research findings that many people would be eager to dine out as soon as restrictions are lifted, the panel agreed that safety will remain a priority for all consumers. We discussed how technology will be a driver in restoring service-users’ confidence, while especially appealing to Gen-Z customers who want more tech interfaces with the brands they trust - the use of apps to order food and sensor technology to monitor footfall, were just some of the examples explored.

From the importance of brand transparency to the lasting impacts of COVID-19 on the hospitality sector, we found it a thought-provoking debate. In response to Katy’s research findings that many people would be eager to dine out as soon as restrictions are lifted, the panel agreed that safety will remain a priority for all consumers. We discussed how technology will be a driver in restoring service-users’ confidence, while especially appealing to Gen-Z customers who want more tech interfaces with the brands they trust - the use of apps to order food and sensor technology to monitor footfall, were just some of the examples explored.

Authenticity is key, there is an element of trust between the brands that we decide to use, whether that’s to do with ethics or quality or value for money, those are all key decision makers.

Ellen Potts, PMO - UK Strategic Projects, ISS UK on what younger consumers value

I think there might be an opportunity to implement measures that make people feel
a bit safer when they go to venues – whether it be sensors, so that people know how many people are in there, or whether people order or pay online – I really do think that the focus on safety will be here to stay

Natalie Tuckwood, GDPR & Legal Compliance Business Partner, ISS UK on what will be important to consumers as lockdown eases

Millennials/ Gen-Z: the food service sector needs you! 

We also looked for optimism despite the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on food services. The participants agreed that young people’s skills, innovation and enthusiasm are needed to help re-build the sector, so there are definitely opportunities for Gen-Zs and Millennials who relish a challenge. Katy added that the Hospitality industry can also provide flexibility to develop the type of ‘portfolio’ careers which many younger people aspire to have.

Launching our first event has been a really enjoyable experience and the webinar was great fun to be a part of. Not only did we hear some insightful trend analysis from KAM Media on the future of food services but discussing this research in a way that was relevant to Millennials and Gen-Zs, both as consumers and industry employees, instigated an interesting discussion on what’s truly important for the future community of the food service industry. 

An inspiring all-female panel

It was a pleasure to collaborate with our fellow committee members, KAM Media and Arena to make it a success. Over 80 people tuned into the webinar, including an audience of Gen-Z and Millennials who were new to Arena, which is a fantastic attendance for our first ever event. And, as we publish this blog on International Women’s Day, we reflect also on our pride of being - by chance rather than design - part of an all-female panel, which we hope bodes well for young women wishing to forge a career in our industry.

As a committee we are now focusing on our next event this Spring, using the feedback we have received to improve and make our next session more valuable, insightful and inclusive for the newest recruits to the industry. We look forward to building upon the supportive and inspiring network of like-minded individuals already established by Arena, so if you’ve been inspired, follow the Arena Futures LinkedIn page.

Click here to watch the webinar. 

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