How to support Purple Tuesday in hospitality

Purple Tuesday in hospitality ideas

Purple Tuesday in hospitality represents an opportunity to improve customer experience for those with disabilities and become a more inclusive, welcoming business.

What is Purple Tuesday?

Purple Tuesday took place on Tuesday 1st November 2022. It is a global social movement taking place across all industries to improve the customer experience for disabled people and their families 365 days a year. But it’s not just about one day of the year. It encourages hospitality businesses to improve the ways they work all year round.

How to get involved in Purple Tuesday

While Purple Tuesday may be one day per year, the goal is to introduce changes that will benefit those with disabilities throughout the year. Click here to download resources that can help you to understand the best ways to make your hospitality business more accessible.

Supporting hospitality business customers

Purple Tuesday challenges organisations to make one new commitment to improve their accessibility and practice.

As an example of this, Whitbread has revealed it is committing to the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.

The pledge is part of Whitbread’s diversity and inclusion programme under its Force for Good corporate social responsibility scheme which commits to creating opportunities for teams and guests, giving back to local communities and operating responsibly. 

The UK’s biggest hospitality company Whitbread, which welcomes millions of guests into its Premier Inn hotels and restaurant brands including Beefeater and Brewers Fayre every month, is signing up to the Sunflower, which enables people with invisible disabilities to discreetly indicate they may need additional support, help or a little more time with their transaction – such as checking in or ordering a drink or meal.

Purple Tuesday in hospitality ideas
PREMIER INN – PURPLE TUESDAY Picture for Premier Inn Purple Tuesday L/R Front of House Team Members Laura Durham and Jemma Malloy with Deputy Hotel Manager Valentin Raev Pictures by J Hipkiss

Recognising that without a visual cue, it can be difficult for people – including those working in hospitality – to identify, acknowledge, or understand the daily barriers faced by people living with an invisible disability, the Sunflower cleverly allows guests to choose to wear a lanyard featuring the Sunflower logo to indicate they may need extra assistance.

Non-visible disabilities can be physical, mental or neurological and include, but are not limited to, autism, cognitive impairments such as learning difficulties and dementia, as well as 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.

In addition to delivering the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower training across its 30,000 team members to understand and recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, Whitbread will also be displaying information in its hotels and restaurants across the UK, showing it is a ‘Sunflower-friendly’ business.

Simon Ewins, Managing Director for Premier Inn and Restaurants and the Executive Sponsor for Disability Inclusion: “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.”

Learn more about Purple Tuesday in hospitality

Click here to see how you can get involved in Purple Tuesday in hospitality.