February 22, 2021

3 stories of resilience in the hospitality business

We all need some good news in our lives right now. This is why we wanted to highlight a few stories, actions and people across the hospitality industry which caught our attention as drivers of determined resiliency in these absurd times.

Resilience is, without a doubt, a key characteristic of human nature in times of crisis. We would argue that the restaurant and hospitality industry is particularly good at being resilient – and creative – right now.  

Yes, unfortunately, it is often sparked by pressure to come up with fast solutions or survival even.

Nevertheless, our industry is brimming with resilient individuals, businesses and initiatives, all aiming to bounce back. Perhaps even stronger than before?

Here’s just a few examples to inspire.  

Chef and serial restaurateur, Henri Alén and a new virus research project at Restaurant Ultima in Helsinki

Restaurant Ultima owners and chefs
Tommi Tuominen (left) and Henri Alén (right).

One of the most well-known Chefs and Restaurateurs in Finland, Henri Alén, has become the industry personality who is often asked to comment on current food service business affairs in the media. This, and his actions, have positioned Henri as the unofficial (sometimes rather sharp and tongue-in-cheek) voice of his peers. This is clear from the way industry colleagues comment on Henri’s social media posts, reflecting appreciation and gratitude. Henri’s posts featuring his golden retriever also bring an appropriate touch of soft cuteness to current times.  

Last week, the results of Henri’s latest act of resilience were published, offering useful data to help restaurant owners across the board. An interesting research project was completed at Henri’s innovative Italian-flavored restaurant, Ultima. An independent, interdisciplinary team set out to investigate the way a harmless model virus spreads in a restaurant, using Ultima as its testing ground. The results revealed that in addition to rock-solid hygiene and social distancing, efficient ventilation is another measure to improve safe dining at restaurants, both during the pandemic and beyond.  

As Henri asserted:

“any scientific evidence is a good thing”.  

Read more about the resiliency-spirited virus research in English here.  

The #SaveRestaurants initiatives, Independent Restaurant Coalition and James Beard Foundation

#SaveRestaurants Instagram posts by the Independent Restaurant Coaliton (left, original post here) and the James Beard Foundation
(right, original post

The #SaveRestaurants campaign is a heart-felt social media hashtag and initiative, started in the USA in March 2020 by PR professionals and restaurant advocates Helen Patrikis and Steven Hall. The goal is to raise funds and garner support to keep the suffering restaurant industry going globally. The hashtag has since then generated various evolutions and encouraging expressions of resilience.

Most recently, #SaveRestaurants has called upon all of us to express support and love to those working in the industry. This quest was also put into sentimental visual and verbal expressions (see image) on social media by two institutions, whose missions we adore; the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) and the James Beard Foundation.  

The IRC has been formed by the restaurant and bar community in the US with the powerful mission to save independent restaurants and bars and all the people working within these businesses (amounting to over 10 million people in the US alone). Huge respect for keeping the flag of indie restaurants flying as high as possible through and beyond the tough times. For the IRC #SaveRestaurants love letter, see here.  

James Beard Foundation, the 30+ year-old nonprofit organization that recognizes, celebrates and supports culinary professionals as well as the diversity and sustainability of American food culture, published a very touching napkin story. The Foundation’s fight and mission on behalf of the industry is truly a huge, empowering deal. ❤️

Thank you for highlighting the role of the industry and its’ incredible, resilient professionals. We depend on you!  

The MAD community

MAD in action. Can you sense the creativity and drive?
Photo: MAD
Zinna Brigh Mac-Eochaidh

The one-of-a-kind “global cooking community”, MAD, was set up in 2011 by the restaurant Noma Head Chef and Co-owner, René Redzepi, “with the ambition of transforming hospitality and driving change in food systems”.

MAD’s Academy is headed by another celebrated Scandi restaurant figure, former Owner and Head Chef of the now closed Stockholm restaurant Fäviken, Magnus Nilsson. MAD Academy is an inspiring educational institute on its very own path, teaching students from the hospitality industry about how to make a positive, sustainable change in the world through their profession.  

The MAD community has coined a new term, MAD Mondays, which has been a series of energizing and encouraging talks around the world around topics of food and change. This concept has just launched online; go become part of the MAD Mondays at Home for a dose of hope, creativity and leadership!  

We feel that the MAD kind of community-driven work toward new, sustainable ways of working and thinking could not be more timely or more important than right now. For stories on solutions found by your hospitality peers, follow @themadfeed on Instagram.  

What an exceptionally strong, innovative and adaptable industry, community, group of professionals, family, individuals and companies we are!

We are humbled, proud and beyond excited to be working with many of you to help futureproof your kitchens and to share your stories and insights from and about the food service community. The industry’s existence, vibrancy and ability and will to thrive is vitally important to the global community (and economy)!

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