The group, which represents independent restaurant and takeaway owners across the UK, says its members are 'deeply disappointed to see the lack of diversity and representation for small businesses among the Hospitality Council appointees' that were announced yesterday morning (29 September).
It claims the Council membership is 'overwhelmingly focused on big, corporate chains, with little regard for the huge variety of cuisines, ethnically diverse entrepreneurs and independent business owners who make up the sector beyond London'.
Among the industry leaders appointed to the Hospitality Sector Council are numerous representatives from larger casual dining and pub groups including Burger King UK CFO Tim Doubleday; Fuller's CEO Simon Emeny; The Restaurant Group chief executive Andy Hornby; and Nando’s UK & Northern Ireland CEO Colin Hill.
There is also a strong representation from hospitality trade bodies including UKHospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association on the Council, however, the only two notable independent restaurateurs to be included are Mowgli founder Nisha Katona and Hawksmoor co-founder Will Beckett.
The Council, which is led by Prezzo executive chair Karen Jones and Business Minister Paul Scully, had its first meeting yesterday and has been assembled to help deliver the Government’s 'hospitality strategy' and support the reopening, recovery and resilience of the sector following the pandemic.
The BTC claims it has attempted to speak to Scully twice to make the case for small businesses needing greater representation on the Council, but his office 'failed to reply on both occasions'.
“The Government are clearly not interested in the views and experiences of small, independent businesses," says Andrew Crook, vice chair of the BTC.
"This Council is London-centric, big-business focused and seems to have been put together with very little consideration for the hundreds of thousands of hard-working, independent businesses who fought to survive the pandemic and served their communities throughout.”
Crook's comments were echoed yesterday by Sacha Lord, night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, who tweeted: "Today, I welcome the Government forming a Hospitality Council.
"However, inviting the colossal corporates like Deliveroo, Starbucks, Burger King and Nando's misses the point.
"What about the small, family run independents?
"They are the REAL backbone of the UK economy."
BigHospitality has contacted the Government for a response, but none had been made available at the time of publication.