After two years of the pandemic, the hotel and restaurant industry has lost approximately 230,000 employees between 2020 and 2021. Priorities have now changed, and employee behaviour has evolved. The year 2022 marks a turning point in the collective awareness of CSR in the F&B sector.
Employee loyalty, commercial differentiation, improved image and reputation, productivity gains and competitiveness: corporate social responsibility (CSR) offers many advantages for attracting new talent and contributing to sustainable development.
Within an F&B concept, financial profitability is far from being synonymous with value creation. The alchemy between these two notions is complex and depends on the company's ability to adapt to its core business while responding to the economic and social challenges associated with it.
New models are emerging, such as offering employees a four-day working week or advance payment to improve their financial well-being by making it easier to for the access their salary over the course of the month.
In this dynamic, the main driving force is people. CSR strategies aim to create transparency in the relationship between the individual and the company. It is not a matter of implementing a few "symbolic" actions to improve the company's image, but of questioning the management model it has adopted.
The social commitment of companies is based on a set of approaches that aim to promote equal opportunities and integration through vocational training. When it comes to improving employee performance and involvement, CSR commitment takes a more strategic turn and becomes a real management issue. This involves a continuous training approach and a learning path adapted to the company's development plan.
CSR is an opportunity for F&B players to reinvent their operational management models as well as to promote their employer brand in an employment market sensitive to responsible corporate values and culture.
The Covid-19 crisis and the war in Ukraine have highlighted the need to integrate CSR as an integral part of an F&B project. With the shortage of raw materials and the climate emergency, it has become imperative to act and rethink an entire model: local and seasonal products, waste management, food waste, etc. As of 1 January 2023, all fast-food operators will have to serve their customers with reusable tableware. CSR initiatives in the F&B sector are multiplying.
For the past two years, retailers such as Class'croute have been experimenting: no more plastic (or as little as possible), no more pre-packaged sandwiches, no more trays and fewer cups. Instead, there are self-opening glass units, which display hot and cold dishes and desserts, sold in returnable glass containers.
Other brands such as Acaï & You are using packaging (bowls, cups, cutlery, etc.) fabricated from PLA, a plant-based plastic made from corn starch that is entirely biodegradable.
Today, consumers are more vigilant about the implementation of eco-responsible commitments by F&B players. There is a strong expectation from consumers for more sustainable catering and more transparency on the commitments and actions taken.