Why it’s important to have diversity and inclusion in the hospitality industry

Sanjeev Sanghera, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Döner Shack, explains the importance of diversity and inclusion in the hospitality industry.

Why it’s important to have diversity and inclusion in the hospitality industry

Sanjeev Sanghera, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Döner Shack, explains the importance of diversity and inclusion in the hospitality industry and how it can initiate positive organisational changes and improve communication among staff and customers.

As an industry, hospitality is already driving diversity and inclusion and has recognised how it can create a workforce full of different skills, talents and customs. It is unique in that it attracts a diverse set of employees and customers who come from multiple backgrounds with their own set of experiences and cultural history.

A diverse workplace is a successful workplace. It’s about weaving genuine inclusion into the fabric of your business and ensuring your employees are involved, empowered and trusted. Drawing talent from the broadest range of people available will undeniably have a positive impact on your organisation as you are building teams that generate different viewpoints and talents to the mix, increasing innovation and driving higher revenues.

Diversity is central to our strategy at Döner Shack, and we have made sure that we have an inclusive environment for every one of our employees so they feel valued, motivated and developed. As a restaurant owner myself, I have seen first-hand how diversity brings so many advantages to a business – it can help foster better teamwork, lead to improved job satisfaction, boost problem-solving capabilities and increase happiness and productivity.

Here are my three benefits to fostering a diverse strategy in your restaurant franchise.

Reaching your business goals

If you want a team capable of helping you achieve your business goals, you need diversity. For example, at Döner Shack, owning a franchise is all about a growing team, a growing vision and an ever-increasing appetite to be the number one kebab brand in the world. We deliver fantastic products and excellent service, and, most importantly of all, we employ inspiring people. So, it is clear we need people from all walks of life to help us reach these goals.

If your aim is to ensure a steady source of income, create a resilient business model and help employees feel more included, then you must meet the diverse needs of your customers as well. In the restaurant sector, success is mainly dependent upon employee-customer interactions. For example, word of mouth and online reviews are some of the best ways of drawing in new and returning customers – ensuring your team is diverse will allow you to field questions, deal with complaints and provide the very best service when interacting with customers.

Drives better decision-making

Diversity plays an active role in improving decision making, not just from a team perspective, but from an overall business standpoint. Restaurants with more diverse employees excel at decision-making and outperform their peers financially as they bring fresh views, new ways of thinking, and a variety of skillsets.

Studies have shown a strong and statistically significant correlation between the diversity of management teams and a business’s performance. According to Boston Consulting Group’s innovation survey, companies that reported above-average diversity on their management teams also reported innovation revenue that was 19 percent higher than that of companies with below-average leadership diversity.1

Innovative ideas

Diversity can improve a company’s bottom line and lead to new discoveries and breakthrough innovations. Having a mix of employee cultures and backgrounds can offer your franchise the opportunity to provide ground-breaking services for customers. As a manager, if you hire people who are different, have different life experiences and think differently, you are less likely to be in an ‘echo chamber’ where everybody agrees.

Building a diverse and inclusive workplace isn’t simple, but you can start by understanding and embracing them in every aspect of your franchise as it will drive your business success now and into the future. You will not only benefit from access to a wider talent pool but will experience an increased positive perception of your brand in the marketplace and be seen as an employer of choice by candidates looking to work for a business with similar values.

1BCG, 2018, How Diverse Leadership Teams Boost Innovation

Sanjeev Sanghera
Sanjeev Sanghera