THE founder of a successful independent restaurant group has become a podcast host in an effort to make the hospitality industry more “human”.

Mark Cribb, who set up a trio of venues under the Urban Guild name, is presenting the weekly show Humans of Hospitality.

It claims to be the first professional podcast focusing on the people behind the UK’s independent hospitality sector.

There will be interviews with the producers of ingredients, dishes and drinks, as well as the owners of bars, cafes and restaurants.

It will also examine the challenges of independent businesses – from tight profit margins to competitors like Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

Mr Cribb’s own business runs Urban Beach Hotel and Urban Reef in Bournemouth and Jenkins and Sons at Penn Hill.

He told the Daily Echo that the influence of venture capitalist investors in the British hospitality industry was a threat to independent, one-off businesses.

“I’ve become increasingly concerned over the last couple of years about hospitality becoming a commodity,” he said.

“The reason I’m in hospitality is I genuinely love it.

“Hospitality is hundreds of thousands of years old. People love that human connection you get breaking bread or drinking a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.”

He added: “I’m launching Humans of Hospitality so that the many varied voices of the independent world of food, drink and hospitality are heard and the issues they face get a proper airing. I respect the entrepreneurs who’ve made it big and turned their enterprises into chains but I worry that the rise of formulaic wining, dining and overnighting will make the planet pale and uninteresting.”

He said he was struck, on a recent visit to France, by the difference with the UK. “Look around this little French village and there were probably four or five little bakeries and the locals were using them. Why back at home is everybody waking into an Esso petrol station or Starbucks to buy their coffee and why don’t we have this vibrant hospitality scene?” he added.

“We live in a culture where venture capitalists invest in a concept, not because it’s about people, hospitality or stories but because they can buy in at 50 units, increase it to a hundred, flip it and double their money. I’m nervous that corporate budgets are making our wonderfully diverse world of hospitality formulaic and dull.”

There are four episodes already available, featuring interviews with Rupert Holloway of Conker Spirit in Southbourne; Joe Lovett of Bad Hand coffee in Bournemouth; David Sax, who established the Cow in Parkstone and went on to run the Museum Inn at Farnham near Blandford; and Steve Farrell of Eight Arch Brewing in Wimborne.

Subsequent episodes will feature Helen Browning, chief executive of the Soil Association; Jimmy Cregan, co-founder of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee; Ceri Cryer of Brinkworth Dairy; and Oli Perron of Bournemouth-based office lunch company Lunch’d.

Humans of Hospitality is on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and SoundCloud, or at