Hospitality Today Spring 2017 - Page 17

the teams in meeting ambitious growth targets, Selley decentralised the business to depots, giving them the freedom to compete nationally and regionally, invested in new depots to get closer to the customer, and invested in technology and training. The bigger picture: “cheer up” Switching his attention to the wider industry, Selley told the audience to ‘cheer up’ over Brexit, urging them to look at history and realise that we’ve survived bigger challenges, such as depression and world wars. He speculated that the weakened pound is probably here to stay in some shape or form, which will impact us all. But, we have to be innovative and more efficient to make business less costly. For example, electric vehicles are a great idea but can’t currently carry heavy loads. So, how can we invest to help progress this? Similarly, he declared that food price inflation is a reality. But, he doesn’t want to hear ‘Brexit excuses’, he wants real conversations on how operators and suppliers can work together to mitigate this. Echoing the earlier panel discussion, Selley expressed that the only response you can make to Brexit is to be agile and adapt to change. Uncertainty equals opportunity, which equals success for some. Quoting Darwin, he said: “it’s not the survival of the fittest or the strongest, but those best able to adapt.” | 17 Sustainable business Looking at the environment he spotlighted our responsibility to deliver sustainable business to the next generation. Population growth of more than 2.5billion by 2050 is a reality and not the stuff of sci-fi movies. As is climate change and the increased likelihood of drought, flood and adverse weather that will affect food supply. Closer to home, our industry has a phenomenal impact on society. 4.7million in the UK live in food poverty and £50billion of NHS costs are for food-related issues. As an industry, we need to work collaboratively to make a more sustainable supply chain and reduce its impact from farm to fork. A marathon not a sprint Selley summed up the industry with a ‘fluid marathon’ analogy: We’re all in it for the long term. We can’t see the finish line. We don’t know the route. And, we don’t know what the obstacles are. The government will change the rules along the way. Accept you may go the wrong way and change (mentally as well as physically). It’s a tough race. Selley concluded: “There must be an easier way to make money than foodservice. But what a fantastic industry to be in and a fantastic race to be part of.”