As the UK’s biggest hospitality company welcoming millions of guests into our hotels and restaurants throughout the year, we recognise that without a visual cue, it can be difficult for people – including our team members – to identify or understand the daily barriers faced by people living with an invisible disability. That’s why this year, to mark Purple Tuesday, we’ve decided to adopt the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower as part of our Force for Good programme!
We’re teaming up with Purple Tuesday – and signing up to the Sunflower!
Purple Tuesday is all about improving the customer experience for disabled people and their families all year round. Non-visible disabilities can be physical, mental or neurological and include (but are not limited to) autism, cognitive impairments, mental health conditions, speech or visual impairments or hearing loss.
They also include respiratory and chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, chronic pain and even sleep disorders.
The Sunflower lanyard enables people with invisible disabilities to discreetly indicate that they may need additional support or a little more time with their transaction – such as checking in or ordering a drink or meal.
In addition to delivering the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower training across our 30,000 team members, we’ll also be displaying information in our hotels and restaurants across the UK, showcasing that we are a ‘Sunflower-friendly’ business.
Simon Ewins, Managing Director for Premier Inn and Restaurants and the Executive Sponsor for Disability Inclusion said:
“We are delighted to be the hospitality sector sponsor for Purple Tuesday and launch the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower in our hotels and restaurants across the UK. We’re proud to welcome millions of disabled customers, as well as people with long-term health conditions, to our hotels and restaurants across the UK every year. True inclusion never stands still – it’s a commitment that continually evolves and we are always looking for ways to improve our guest experience, which is why we’re so proud to be part of the global network. As an inclusive employer we also know it’s an initiative that will inspire our team members, some of course who themselves have disabilities, and we are therefore really looking forward to getting our restaurants teams as well as our very own ‘purple people’ behind Purple Tuesday both on the day itself and year-round.’
Mike Adams OBE, CEO, Purple and creator of Purple Tuesday said:
“We are proud to have welcomed Whitbread as the Purple Tuesday UK Hospitality Partner, working together to influence positive changes for disabled customers and their families across the industry. Disabled people deserve to have seamless and quality customer experiences like everyone else and through commitments to improve accessibility and practices from organisations like Whitbread we will start to see this become the norm. We look forward to building a long-term relationship with Whitbread and their staff to enhance the experiences of all disabled customers that access their hotels and restaurants.”
Paul White, CEO, Hidden Disabilities Sunflower said:
“We are delighted that Whitbread have joined the global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network and have trained 30,000 employees to support Sunflower wearers in their many hotels and restaurants. Our goal is simply to improve the everyday experiences for people with non-visible disabilities, ensuring that they have an end-to-end journey when wearing the Sunflower be it for work or leisure. Visitors and guests can feel confident that they will be met with kindness, understanding and patience when dining or enjoying a night at any one of the 800+ Premier Inn hotels.”
Here at Whitbread, we’re committed to supporting our colleagues, including those from under-represented groups such as those with disabilities, people who are ethnically diverse and those who identify as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, trans sexual, non-binary or use another term. Over the past 12 months, we’ve continued to drive our eight commitments for diversity and inclusion. Here are a few highlights:
- Published our 2022 Gender and Ethnicity Pay Gap report, the first time we’ve published a voluntary ethnicity pay gap externally
- Continued to equip teams at all levels with tools and resources including dedicated training to equip support them in building a more inclusive environment
- Through four inclusion networks, including a new enAble disability network, continued to ensure minority groups have a voice and empower them to help drive change
- Marched at Manchester Pride with our LGBTQ+ network
- Pledged to ensure diversity is celebrated at key points throughout the year including Black History Month, International Women’s Day, Race and Equality Week, LGBQ History Month, and Religious holidays