Independent website is launched to tackle bullying in the hospitality industry

Launched by food writer Victoria Stewart, Hospitality Speaks aims to create a safe space for harassment victims

Hospitality Speaks, a brand-new website launched to talk bullying, harassment and discrimination in the hospitality industry, is going live at the end of March.

The website is set to be launched by food columnist Victoria Stewart after the London Evening Standard writer said she heard anecdotes of poor treatment of staff “across the board” in food and drink outlets. The site will have portals for industry staff and employers, and the public, and will offer advice on how restaurants can better support staff.

“There is an incredible amount of pressure working in these environments, which are full of closed-off back rooms, kitchens and bars. Within those spaces a lot of stuff can happen,” Stewart said. “There’s not enough awareness in the public and in the industry about this kind of behaviour”.

The website is currently fundraising with sponsors, though no hospitality employer will be able to financially contribute to the website, as not to have any influence. Business names, as well as individuals, will be removed from comments on Hospitality Speaks, to avoid staff facing legal action or even the sack for speaking up against employers.

Bullying and harassment are rife in hospitality, according to reports. A University of Phoenix study in 2016 suggested that 75% of workers are affected by bullying, whilst a study from the Unite trade union last year claimed that 90% of hospitality worked have experienced sexual harassment.

The platform is yet to launch officially but is active on Twitter, @hospspeaks.