More than half of ethnic minority hospitality professionals experience or witness racism at work – what now?

By Lorraine Copes, Founder, Be Inclusive Hospitality

In November 2020, we teamed up with survey partner CPL Learning to launch an industry wide Inside Hospitality Survey. A sector first, we created the survey to capture hospitality professionals’ experiences of race, bias and career progression.

The survey captured experiences of a sample of 387 hospitality professionals at all levels, from different ethnicities, and occupations and explored topics such as racism, bias, career progression, inclusion, wellbeing and diversity training. 

Findings show that racism is experienced throughout the industry, with more than half of all ethnic minorities surveyed having experienced or witnessed racism at work.

Of the hospitality professionals surveyed, 42% of Mixed hospitality professionals told us their race/ethnicity has hindered their career progression, while 56% of Asian hospitality professionals and 41% of Black hospitality professionals felt the same. Just 7% of White hospitality professionals felt their race/ethnicity has hindered their career progression. 

Based on the survey findings, there is a clear need and appetite for education and training around race and ethnicity within the workplace. 60% of respondents reported that they had not received any appropriate staff training or education, and felt such training was needed. Meanwhile, only 28% of hospitality professionals we surveyed received training or education around race, ethnicity or anti-racism. 

The report concludes with eight practical steps that employers of all sizes can take towards building an equitable, diverse and inclusive culture. One of the steps being having clear targets in order to measure and monitor diversity statistics.

Be Inclusive Hospitality has actively conducted culture audits, delivered workshops and acted as an advisor to brands, restaurants and hotels within the sector, and has hopes that the report will act as catalyst for change.

I was a Procurement leader for close to two decades, leading teams within fine dining, casual dining, pubs and contract catering.  I incorporated Be Inclusive Hospitality in July 2020, having observed very little visible ethnic diversity in leadership positions across the various hospitality sectors in the course of my career. This is despite the fact that Black, Asian and Ethnic Minorities represent over 17% of the workforce (ONS Labour Force Survey, 2020).  

I wanted to run the Inside Hospitality survey and gather data so that we are all able to take steps forward towards racial equity in hospitality through understanding the experiences of those who work in the industry.

Hospitality has some work to do marketing itself as an industry that can and will support its teams. Sadly, this report identifies exactly how much work there is to do, especially for those from ethnic minority backgrounds. 

You can download the report summary, or purchase the full report for £299 here. To find out more about BIH’s work head to

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