December 18, 2019

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Foodservice and Hospitality Industry, with Gerry Fernandez

Episode 29:

As President and Founder of the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA) – an educational non-profit organization that makes the business case for developing cultural intelligence in the workplace – Gerry has spent decades educating and advocating for the business benefits of cultural diversity and inclusion in the foodservice & hospitality industry. An engagingly energetic Speaker who practices straight talk, he travels across the US and internationally, bringing authentic perspective on building Cultural Intelligence that raises the topline, improves the bottom-line, and builds brands cultural authenticity. Gerry was named to Nations Restaurant News 2018 Power List of the 50 Most Influential People in Foodservice, the definitive list of industry leaders who are not only setting trends today, but also shaping them for tomorrow.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Gerry’s career path ultimately led to his current role as President and Founder of the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA)
  • How attending a Women’s Foodservice Forum conference sparked Gerry’s idea for a multicultural foodservice organization
  • Why the foodservice industry tends to be highly diverse at lower levels but becomes much less diverse at the top
  • Why the foodservice industry is uniquely positioned to create opportunities for people who would otherwise have few options to grow a career
  • Why cultural competence is a vital skill for anyone working in foodservice and hospitality management
  • Why Gerry’s work in the area of unconscious bias creates a platform for business leaders to further improve their cultural competence and creates top-down change in organizations
  • What common trends and challenges Gerry recognizes in diversity, equity and inclusion work across the foodservice and hospitality industry
  • Why the hyper partisan political tone and the constant charged rhetoric in our political atmosphere is having an outsized effect on ethnic minority groups in foodservice
  • How MFHA has partnered with the National Restaurant Association to broaden the reach of their message and content
  • Gerry shares an example of how the Denny’s restaurant chain has become an industry leader in diversity, equity and inclusion

Additional resources: