Editorial Board   

Mr. Fernandez, Sr.

Gerald Fernandez, Sr.

President & Founder, Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance

Gerald A. "Gerry" Fernandez, Sr., is president and founder of the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA), a national non-profit organization that promotes the social and economic benefits of diversity and inclusion in the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry. He founded the Alliance by garnering support from premier sponsors Cargill, Coca-Cola Company, General Mills Corporation, Nation's Restaurant News and PepsiCo, Inc. to create the MFHA charter in 1996. Gerry began his career with General Mills in 1992 in research and development and was eventually promoted to National Account Manager, Foodservice Sales. It was in this position that he founded the Alliance, after which, in March of 1997, he became a loaned executive to MFHA. Gerry currently conducts lectures and workshops for some of America's best-known companies, organizations and brands. Prior to joining General Mills, he spent more than 10 years as senior manager, opening and operating fine-dining restaurants for the company now known as RARE Hospitality. Earlier in his career, Gerry held various leadership positions in many fine-dining establishments, including The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Gerry holds a Bachelor of Science degree in foodservice management from Johnson & Wales University, where he also earned a culinary arts degree in 1976. The university awarded him an honorary Doctorate in business administration in 1999. Gerry is married, has three sons, three grandchildren and lives with his wife, Debra (Jackson), in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Mr. Fernandez, Sr. can be contacted at 401-461-6342 or gerry.fernandez@mfha.net

Coming up in December 2019...

Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.