Welcoming all kinds of people is the heart of hospitality, but unconscious bias on the part of employees, managers, or guests can damage a business’s reputation and its ability to retain workers. Add in the viral nature of social media, including customer reviews that reach thousands of people, and it’s clear that unconscious bias incidents can have an enormous impact on business.

Understanding Unconscious Bias in Hospitality is a new online training suite developed by the National Restaurant Association in conjunction with the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA) and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI). As part of the ServSafe Workplace platform, this training educates learners about unconscious bias with hospitality industry-specific examples presented through modules for employees and managers.

“The hospitality industry’s millions of customers represent every possible demographic, and every one of them deserves to be treated with respect. The same applies for the industry’s diverse workforce,” said Sherman L. Brown, Executive Vice President, Training & Certification, National Restaurant Association. “Increasing awareness of unconscious bias and its effects, and equipping our people with the tools they need to manage bias, is essential to the continued success of our industry.”

The training serves as a springboard to heighten awareness of unconscious bias, which will help hospitality employees and managers interact more fairly and mindfully with guests and one another.

Topics in the 30-minute employee program include:

  • Defining unconscious bias and the many forms it can take
  • Understanding the impact that bias can have on interactions with guests and fellow employees
  • Understanding how to conduct oneself with a greater fairness and an awareness of others’ perspectives

The managers’ training includes an additional 30 minutes of information on:

  • Proactively and reactively managing situations in which bias occurs
  • Managing employee interactions to promote a fair, respectful, and inclusive workplace
  • Learning how to deal with difficult situations to minimize impact on the business

In addition to the Understanding Unconscious Bias online training content, managers and trainers will have access to a variety of complimentary resources to help them continue training through pre-shift lessons. Resources include breakroom posters, videos, and a discussion guide.

“In today’s workplace, cultural, generational and racial bias is negatively impacting all aspects of American business. To be successful, mangers need to learn what bias is, how it works, and how unconscious bias ties into recruiting, leadership development and customer service,” said Gerry A. Fernandez, MFHA president and founder. Since 1996, MFHA has been making the business case for diversity and inclusion in the foodservice & hospitality industry. Over the years, MFHA has evolved its mission from advocating for career opportunities for people of color, to include building Cultural Intelligence for foodservice and hospitality employees

Understanding Unconscious Bias in Hospitality offers multiple solutions for businesses, including versions for managers or employees, English or Spanish, volume pricing, and bundling with other programs in the ServSafe Workplace suite. To learn more, visit www.ahlei.org/unconscious-bias.

Elizabeth Johnson
Marketing and Communications Manager
Phone: 517-318-2359
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Established in 1953 as the nonprofit education and training arm of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), AHLEI”s mission is to be the preferred provider of quality resources to educate, develop, and certify hospitality educators, students and professionals worldwide. AHLEI became part of the National Restaurant Association in 2017, connecting and leveraging the resources of two organizations that are deeply committed to a vision of career success and upward mobility for current and future hospitality, restaurant, and food service employees.