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Wed 1st Jun 2022 - Karen Jones made dame in Queen’s Birthday Honours, OBEs for Emma McClarkin and Jill Whittaker
Karen Jones made dame in Queen’s Birthday Honours, OBEs for Emma McClarkin and Jill Whittaker: Karen Jones, executive chair of Prezzo and chair of Hawksmoor and Mowgli, has been made a dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Already a CBE, Jones is one of the leading figures in hospitality and had extensive involvement helping the government understand and support the industry during the pandemic. Having helped set up and float Theme Restaurants in her early 20s, Jones went on to launch Cafe Rouge, and in 2002 became chief executive of Spirit Group. An active investor in various hospitality concepts, she is also a commissioner of the Crown Estate and sits on the board of Firmenich in Geneva and Deliveroo in London. Jones was appointed chancellor of the University of East Anglia in 2016 and has chaired the board of National Theatre Enterprises since 2007. She said: “I’m deeply honoured and feel incredibly fortunate, because I am keenly aware that such recognition is only possible because of unceasing work from many talented people, to whom I am deeply indebted. Business is fascinating, and hospitality is my passion: to be recognised for services to both makes me want to be better and do more. Together, we will continue to build hospitality’s appeal as a sought-after sector in which to work, which provides great jobs, training and skills for the new cohort of young women and men who have come into the sector in recent times, and who will be our leaders and entrepreneurs of the future.” There are also OBEs for Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), and Jill Whittaker, managing director of HIT Training. Since joining the BBPA in 2019, McClarkin has led the organisation through the pandemic, securing support for and championing the issues that matter to the beer and pub industry. Prior to joining the BBPA, she served as a MEP for the East Midlands for ten years. McClarkin said: “I am delighted and humbled to receive this honour. It is truly wonderful to receive this recognition on behalf of the beer and pub sector and for the incredible work the BBPA has done throughout the pandemic and continue to do to support the sector I am so passionate about. When I entered the industry in 2019, I had no idea what lay ahead of us, but I have been truly amazed at the resilience, warmth and ingenuity of the people and businesses in our sector to come together and pull through a once in a lifetime challenge. I look forward to celebrating with my family and friends over the Jubilee weekend, in my local, with a pint of beer in hand!” Whittaker, meanwhile, has served the industry for 40 years, and as co-founder and managing director of HIT Training, works to change perceptions of hospitality and improve the experience of working in the sector. Over the last ten years, she has helped around 100,000 employees complete their apprenticeships or gain the qualifications needed to embark on a career in the sector. She said: “I am hugely grateful to have been chosen for this prestigious honour. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside a vast number of talented individuals and industry bodies during my career, and I’m extremely proud of the positive change we’ve achieved in that time. I look forward to continuing my work and collaborating with colleagues both at HIT Training and within the charities and organisations that I hold close to my heart, to continue supporting the future leaders of the industry, and enabling workers to be the best they can be.”

Sector set for much needed £2bn Jubilee cash injection: The covid-ravaged and financially strapped hospitality industry is set to enjoy a £2bn Jubilee bank holiday weekend, starting tomorrow (Thursday, 2 June). A joint survey of members of UKHospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping, the British Beer and Pub Association and Hospitality Ulster revealed the sector is looking forward to a 22% increase in trade over the coming four-day celebration. The trade bodies said the extra £2bn is almost £400m more than pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues could expect to earn during a normal Thursday to Sunday in May. They said in a joint statement: “At last, our beleaguered sector is able to look forward to the sort of trading period that will give it a massive boost as it sets out on the long road to post-pandemic recovery. There are still lots of hurdles that businesses have to clear on the way back to profitability – huge cost increases, a staffing crisis, rising covid rent repayments and too much red tape – but these four days will do wonders for income and for employee morale. It’s also a wonderful, celebratory moment for millions of people who’ve been denied the opportunity to socialise with friends and family for far too long, and we sense there’s a real pent up desire among the population to get out and enjoy itself.”

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