Daniela Galarza | Eater

“Conflict and Change” was the topic of yesterday’s fourth-annual Welcome Conference, a hospitality summit created by restaurateur Will Guidara of Eleven Madison Park and Anthony Rudolf, founder of the educational community Journee. Its goal is to bring members of the restaurant world together; this year’s theme was chosen in light of challenges in the industry, though it nods at this country’s current political climate, as well.

Chefs and restaurateurs including Jordyn Lexton of Drive Change, David Chang of Momofuku, Rich Melman of Lettuce Entertain You, and Brian Canlis of Canlis in Seattle spoke to the crowd of 850 about their own personal challenges and conflicts — and the ever-changing industry. Here now, attendees and speakers on what they believe to be the most pressing conflicts facing the hospitality business today:

Patrick O’Connell, the Inn at Little Washington, Washington, VA: “The greatest conflict in the industry today? How about the world? I think we need to have more empathy. The restaurant industry isn’t isolated… our collective anxiety level is extraordinarily high right now, and it’s affecting people’s concentration and their ability to perform. So much of what we’re about is taking people out of their reality and making them happy, putting them in a festive frame of mind.