The ALMR’s presence as a united voice for the eating and drinking out sector has helped to steer the out-of-home sector through a year of uncertainty, guests heard at the trade association’s annual Christmas lunch in London on Thursday.
Addresses from Chief Executive Kate Nicholls and Chairman Steve Richards described the ALMR’s successful lobbying and continued membership growth across the sector in a year of uncertainties.
Kate Nicholls said:
“2016 has been a turbulent year, in which we have had to navigate an unexpected and challenging landscape. A time when it has never been more important to speak with one clear, loud, united voice. The ALMR has been working for a Brexit deal that best serves our sector and our members, putting food and drink front and centre of a new industrial strategy.
“The ALMR has ensured that hospitality has a seat at the table and a strong input into the most important issues; at Ministerial round tables following the Brexit referendum, Select Committees shaping the regulatory environment, the Mayor of London’s Night Time Commission and at policy commissions across policy areas. We have been right in the thick of it.
“But our future success will also be driven by our people. Our Operations Manager Awards have long demonstrated our commitment to developing and recognising talent. Today, we announce two further initiatives. First, a new online tool developed with CPL Training, called ALMR People Search, to help businesses more easily check people’s right to work, as post-Brexit migration policy is developed. Secondly, an ALMR diploma, developed with HIT Training, CPL and BIIAB, drawing existing work-based qualifications and in-house training in one fully integrated learning platform to deliver industry best practice apprenticeships from entry level to leadership, meeting employers needs and underpinning career development.”
Steve Richards said:
“We are unashamedly a political trade body, lobbying on your behalf, reminding government that hospitality creates jobs like no other sector, employs and trains millions of young people, pays billions in taxes, and is hugely important to our country’s social fabric and GDP. Our vital campaigning work has delivered over £380m cost savings to members this year – on business rate reform, tipping policies, living wage, late night levies, restaurant inspection charges, EU menu labelling, employer NICs. These are real bottom line benefits to our growing number of members.
“Membership grew another 22% this year – our fifth year of double digit growth – and we now have 245 hospitality companies as members, collectively employ 1m people. With two in five members being food led, one in five late night and with 7,500 restaurants, we truly are the voice of out of home hospitality.”
The ALMR Christmas lunch is a longstanding key event in hospitality’s diary and was for the tenth consecutive year held at Old Billingsgate in the City of London. Comedian Jimmy Carr performed for the 1,400 guests at what was the largest of these events to date.