F&B veteran Michael Butler starts hospitality fund for industry workers from India who lost their jobs during the pandemic. Official launch to take place on July 20 with a 256-kilometres solidarity walk. By Tanvi Jain

Michael Butler Hospitality Workers

Michael Butler, a veteran in the luxury food and beverage domain with over 30 years of experience across multiple hospitality brands, has started a hospitality support fund for those Indian hospitality workers, who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.  

As we all know that tourism and hospitality have been the worst-hit sectors due to COVID-19, so much so that many have even lost their jobs due to declining business amid lockdown. Therefore, in order to keep these people off the poverty line, Butler is inviting people from all over the world to donate in the fund. The fund was created late June 2020, and Butler will officially launch it through a 265-kilometres walk in a chef’s coat, from Zurich to Geneva on July 20, to show solidarity and support for the hospitality colleagues. 

 

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“The idea behind the initiative is to continue to support my personal quest – to aid the hospitality professionals in India thrive and succeed. I have been working on this mission through various personal as well as professional projects during my time as the regional corporate F&B Director for Hyatt India and EuropeWhen I read articles mentioning a situation that has forced many restaurants and hotels to close again with the risk of 30 per cent of them being shut permanently, I started enquiring about who all had been let go by hotels in particular and subsequently asked what was happening to the people who were let go. I could see that the Indian hospitality workers were running out of money which will lead to extreme poverty. I then came up with the idea of walking from Zurich to Geneva to make a statement for our industry,” Butler said.  

The fund has been set up online and 100 per cent transparency has been maintained in both the collection of money as well as the distribution criteria. The requesting employees will have to submit an email with an attachment of their relieving letters from their past employers. Preference would be to non-management workers and those who were laid off the earliest. Even the claims will also be validated with local support teams to ensure that the needy and deserving get support at the earliest, depending upon who has been out of a job for the longest time owing to the pandemic and how will they benefit most from the aid amount. In cases where there are multiple earning members in the same family, the single earners will be given priority. 

 

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Butler has also formed an F&B support group on LinkedIn where there are hospitality professionals from across the world contributing, collaborating and supporting virtually to help revive and sustain the industry. Over 12,300 hospitality professionals have been lending support as a part of this group. The requests for support have already started to pour in. The status of the fund collection can be seen in real time on gofundme.com/manage/Indian-workers-hospitality-care-fund. Moreover, you can also donate through paypal.me/pools/campaign/114126669855942464.

Related: #TnlSalutes: The Hospitality Industry’s Very Own Frontliners Share Their Experiences Of COVID-19