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A drink with… Jason-Candid Knüsel, Healthy Hospo

The new managing director for not‐for‐profit organisation Healthy Hospo chats about trends in the on‐trade, spotlighting wellbeing in hospitality, and why 2023 is set to be a big year for the outfit.

Healthy Hospo MD
Jason-Candid Knüsel became managing director for Healthy Hospo in July 2022

You’re pretty new to the role of managing director – what have you been up to so far?

Since July my attention has been fully dedicated to the organisation. The most important thing to do first was understanding the systems in place, meeting all the amazing people in and around Healthy Hospo, and learning how to use all the digital tools.

From then, things moved fast. It was quite rewarding to have been pushed into a few trade shows in the UK as a speaker or panellist in my first weeks in July, such as at Imbibe, on the topic of building a career in the drinks industry, or at Club Soda’s Mindful Drinking Festival, where we tackled the topic of how to spend the summer.

What made you want to get involved in the hospitality industry?

Hospitality is a people business. As a kid I always loved being around people, and also loved delicious food, so naturally it became the right industry for me.

Over my past 15 years of experience in operations, I have seen so many amazing people becoming mentally ill. I have seen colleagues, leaders and mentors coming to work and putting their happy faces on, meanwhile being broken on the inside.

I understand how challenging and demanding the work in hospitality can be. We must improve practices in businesses, and people’s habits, to guarantee long‐lasting careers.

Are you working on any new projects for Healthy Hospo?

We have a bunch of new courses coming on our digital platform soon. I encourage everyone to sign up and browse the amazing free content we provide. It’s designed to support and educate people in our trade about many vital topics such as mindful drinking, nutrition, and stress.

How do you plan on integrating sustainability into your role?

We believe that investing in the future we want to see is what makes the difference in the world. It’s about creating the future for the next generations, and us.

What changes will Healthy Hospo see under your leadership?

2023 is a very important year for us. It is time to bring Healthy Hospo to the next level. A rebranding plan has been laid out, with the message ‘being healthy is cool and fun’. We want to change people’s perspective of wellbeing, mindfulness or health in general, as it sometimes sounds like a speech coming from your parents.

People in hospitality spend so much time in their venues. Get them out and get them to do different activities. Disconnect them from work and connect them with others.

We will be looking at partnering up with various brands that share the same vision of building a sustainable community, driven by a healthier and happier hospitality.

What trends are you seeing in the hospitality industry right now?

I am amazed by the growth of non‐alcoholic brands. Personally, I don’t believe that it’s a trend – it’s a necessity.

I have only understood recently how poor and uninteresting the non‐alcoholic offering is in most hospitality venues, and how many people stay at home because of this – including myself at times. Hopefully operators will soon understand the importance of expanding that side of offerings.

How do activations, such as the recently launched global survey, help Healthy Hospo move forward?

The global survey is so important for us. It’s an important tool to collect data, which gives us the opportunity to customise our support for the industry accordingly. Everyone has a voice, and we rely on these voices out there to optimise our impact.

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