Restaurants, bars, bakeries, hotels, hair salons, event spaces, travel, and tourism all rely on one shared element: making the guest feel welcome and valued. And that means knowing how to be inclusive.
Also, as two of the most diverse segments of the American economy, the service and hospitality industries have huge potential to model diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as a business growth strategy.
According to the 2020 State of the Restaurant Report, 47.8% of all restaurant employees come from marginalized racial groups, and women make up 54% of workers. Yet, executive roles in the service and hospitality sectors are almost exclusively reserved for White men. As Shannon Finn Connell writes for Forbes, “The industry views its diversity as an inherent strength that helps restaurants serve a diverse customer base. And while front-line diversity may in fact be a strength for food service, many feel there is a gap further up the ranks. In other words, restaurants have a diverse workforce, except at the top.”
Creating an inclusive work environment will not only help you attract a bigger segment of the market, it will also help you attract more qualified workers and shift your employee demographics over time. With more outstanding employees in the leadership pipeline, your executive team has a greater chance of more accurately representing your community, your workforce, and your customers. And, you’ll improve both performance and business outcomes along the way.