3 May 2021

Has hospitality lost the art of original thinking?

The past twelve months have given me time to properly contemplate the state of hospitality and where it’s heading. During this time, I got to thinking…what has happened to our once forward-thinking industry?

Starting out 30 plus years ago there were designers and operators that I idolised, and I aspired to reach their dizzying heights. Now I am left cold with the lack of innovation and development. What has happened to these trailblazing companies? Have the old guard passed the baton to lesser visionaries whose only concern is the bottom line with no creative thoughts on how to keep our industry evolving?

More than ever, now is the time to create, now is the time to evolve. Hospitality is not a stagnant industry and the tools we use to provide that perfect guest experience must not remain stagnant. The battle for customer loyalty is only going to get fiercer and we cannot sit on our laurels.


My design focus has reshaped the hotel experience for both operators and guests…

  • Our IRD system remains the most applauded and awarded.
  • The Cross Cube and Rack Cube buffet systems turned the industry on its ear.
  • The linen-free Rollaway system has taken conferences and banquets to new heights.
  • We led the charge with the concept of mobile live cooking.
  • The Xilo range added a unique residential aesthetic providing warmth and intimacy.


I seek to continuously improve these designs and develop new lines. Now all I am seeing from many of my peers is blatant plagiarism. When being unsuccessfully courted by Chinese manufacturers, my heart dropped when I saw oceans of my designs being assembled for my competitors. Taking an existing design and simply putting your name on it shows an absolute lack of creativity, innovation and ethics. By all means use my ideas as inspiration, but work to improve on them, not profit from them. If we all had this ethos, we would all see our offerings continue to awe and inspire. After all, IHS’ motto has always been ‘IT MUST MOVE YOU’.


I take heart that true hospitality professionals understand this. They know to BUY ONCE AND BUY PROPERLY. They know you NEED THE BEST TO PROVIDE THE BEST. That is why one of our favourite partners, The Peninsula Hong Kong, continues to operate IRD flawlessly with an installation dating back to the 90s. Where is the ROI on a trolley that swerves from day one and is destined for landfill. Quality is not expensive, it is priceless.


My new mantra is “They can imitate your style, but they can’t imitate your creativity”. So, as I too prepare to pass the baton I will continue to create and ensure my successors do the same. I remain forever grateful to those that embrace our philosophy. Post-covid is our wake-up call to continue to reach new heights in an ethical, sustainable, and innovative manner.


Let’s start a conversation. Is innovation dying and where is our industry heading?

Would you like to talk to us about your vision?

One of our specialists would love to assist.