Beer, barbecue and bringing teams together – how EatDrinkSleep are marking Social Sunday

Social Sunday‘s footprint grows apace.

This week, EATDRINKSLEEP, a group of three inns comprising The Old Coastguard and Gurnard’s Head in West Cornwall, and The Felin Fach Griffin in the Brecon Beacons, have announced their plans.

EATDRINKSLEEP’s planned fund-raising efforts include a fundraising BBQ and live music afternoon in the gardens of The Old Coastguard; a sponsored walk between the two Cornwall properties; and the launch of Social Session, a beer that’s been specially commissioned from local brewer Cornish Crown to celebrate Social Sunday. Local businesses have offered up prizes for a raffle, too.

In parallel with these fantastic efforts, the group will be running I’ve Got Your Back, a staff campaign across its three sites that will champion the importance of teamwork and taking care of one other.

As they put it, “The campaign will focus on those small things that the team as individuals can do to make a difference: looking at the person working next to you, checking in with them to ensure all is fine, taking a moment out from the daily workload, remembering the impact of what we say and do.”

There’s much to love about these plans.

First, Social Sunday has its own beer – how exciting is that?!

Second, we love the fact that they’ve used their imaginations to come up with a range of fundraising routes.

And third, and arguably most importantly, we love the way EATDRINKSLEEP are using our campaign to lodge wellness and shared responsibility for their teams’ mental health tighter into the DNA of the group.

Charles Inkin, who runs the group with his brother Edmund, says “The work of Hospitality Action and their national Social Sunday campaign triggered us into thinking about what we want to do to make a difference.

“I’ve Got your Back was the answer: a month of our teams reminding each other that they need each other’s help to make the best of themselves. The challenge of mental health is a very real one and we think good communication is part of the solution.”

Bravo Charlie, both for your support and Edmund’s, and for creating some innovative fundraising ideas that other operators can follow.

Enjoy a pub quiz, transform hospitality lives

We’re edging closer to the night of Hospitality Action’s annual pub quiz fundraiser, the Big Fat Quiz.

If you haven’t been to the event before, imagine the biggest pub quiz ever, but with a delicious three-course dinner and wines in place of warm beer and a limp burger, and you won’t be far wrong.

We’ve got DJ legend Pat Sharp playing the part of quizmaster for a second year. And the inimitable Brian Turner will again be running the auction, armed only with his usual bundle of passion and energy, and a large ladle pinched from the Hilton kitchens.

Is it cheesy? Yes. Fun? Hell, yes.

Our quiz is a perfect opportunity to get in some team-building and some fun with your colleagues. Who knows, you might even be crowned the brainiest hospitality business in the land. Imagine the bragging rights over your competitors …

So: pub quiz, fun with your mates, great food, oodles of wine, some wonderful raffle and auction prizes – reasons enough to come along, right?

Here’s another reason.

By attending our quiz next month, you’ll be directly supporting our work to help people who work or have worked in hospitality and find themselves in difficulty or crisis.

If that doesn’t inspire you to commit to memory the last ten Presidents of the United States, the world’s longest river and the order of Henry VIII’s wives, and make a beeline for the Hilton Park Lane, nothing will.

Top chefs and the sport of kings to start your summer

This summer, Hospitality Action is returning to Cheshire Polo Club to kick off the season in style with our Northern Polo Day. Taking place on Sunday 23rd June, it’s the pinnacle of refined sophistication and probably the most luxurious event in our northern events calendar.

Last year we spent over £70,000 supporting those in need in the North West. Funds raised from our Northern Polo Day will go towards helping those most in need across the hospitality industry.

It will be a delightful day of exquisite food from top chefs and adrenaline-filled polo at one of the oldest polo clubs in England.

The day will start by taking in some chukkas of polo on the manicured lawns with G&Ts, bubbly and canapés. Everyone will then retire to the marquee where lunch – cooked by three award-winning chefs from the North West – will be served.

The starter will be provided by Antony Shirley of El Gato Negro, Lancashire Life’s Chef of the Year 2017/18. Antony set up the Seafood Pub Company to widespread industry acclaim in 2010, before returning to the kitchen at multi award-winning El Gato Negro delivering “the most exciting service yet”.

The main course is courtesy of Aiden Byrne of Restaurant MCR. Aiden is a familiar face on shows such as Masterchef and Great British Menu, and has a highly successful restaurant career. His menus draw on all his culinary prowess and influences to delight diners with the exceptional food that he has become renowned for.

“I am thrilled to be taking part in this year’s Northern Polo Day – it’s one of those occasions that always has such excitement surrounding it so me and the team from Restaurant MCR cannot wait to get in that kitchen and create one of our signature dishes for you. Hospitality Action is a truly remarkable charity, and one that I am proud to have worked alongside for many years. The work they do is invaluable and it’s a privilege to contribute in any way I can.”

– Aiden Byrne, Restaurant MCR

Kevin Lynn, the multi award-winning Chef and Owner of Machine House, will provide the dessert. His restaurant was awarded restaurant of the year 2018/2019 and 2 AA Rosettes and has featured in the Michelin guide since it opened in 2016.

Kevin says, “I am extremely delighted to be involved with Hospitality Action and working alongside some truly inspiring chefs, at such a prestigious event raising awareness for a really worthy cause.”

Lunch will be followed by some fantastically fast-paced polo in an exhibition match. And the day will be nicely rounded off with a splendid afternoon tea prepared by Steven Tuke from Flat Cap Hotels.

Last year’s Northern Polo Day saw over 170 guests in attendance and £20,000 raised to help those most in need across the hospitality industry. This year promises to be even better and will see a charity raffle and auction with some fabulous prizes on offer.

Tickets are £95 per person or £900 for a table of ten and include day membership, car pass, polo match and demonstration, drinks and canapé reception, three-course lunch including half a bottle of wine per person, and an afternoon tea. A number of partner hotels are offering special rates for guests on the evening of 23rd June.

If you would like to enjoy a quintessentially British day at the polo, send me an email or give me a call on 020 3004 5505 to book your ticket, or book online.

The Real Downton Abbey

Hospitality Action is offering supporters the exclusive opportunity to explore the opulent corridors and rooms made famous by award-winning TV period drama Downton Abbey. Guests will get to relive the drama from the popular TV show, walking through the very rooms where Hugh Bonneville’s character Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, his aristocratic family and their servants lived in the early 20th century.

Highclere Castle is a stunning country house set within a 5,000-acre estate in Hampshire and is the country seat of the Earl of Carnarvon. In addition to being the main filming location for Downton Abbey, Highclere was a filming location for the British comedy series Jeeves and Wooster, which starred comedians Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry.

Prior to the tour, guests will enjoy a Taittinger Champagne reception, kindly sponsored by Hatch Mansfield  followed by a fabulous three course lunch with carefully selected wines, kindly donated by Chapel Down in the Californian Suite at The Vineyard at Stockcross, a Relais & Châteaux 5 star hotel and spa. The hotel is renowned for its impeccable service, 3 AA Rosette restaurant and award-winning 30,000 bottle wine cellar. Guests will then have the opportunity to explore the castle and the grounds at their leisure, including the Egyptian Exhibition, before rounding off the day with a delicious afternoon tea back at The Vineyard.

We’re just delighted The Vineyard is hosting this event once again for us so we can offer our supporters the chance to visit Highclere Castle this spring. This exclusive afternoon is sure to appeal to all and will raise much-needed funds and awareness of our work – it’s set to be a fantastic day!

This event is popular with our supporters in the South West and guests willingly travel some distance to attend this fundraiser. With fabulous raffle prizes and a live auction to get you excited, the day is a real treat.

The event will be held on Monday 8th April, tickets are priced at £105 and include coach transfers between The Vineyard at Stockcross and Highclere Castle.

To book online visit: www.hospitalityaction.org.uk/events . Early booking is recommended, as places are limited.

To find out more contact Maria on 020 3004 5516 or mcarter@hospitalityaction.org.uk .

Watching the pounds

There are loads of ways to fundraise for Hospitality Action.

One of the simplest and most effective is simply adding a discretionary £1 to guest bills. Our bill round-up programme is one of the fastest growing, and easiest ways to support your industry charity. In our experience guests are only too happy to contribute to the good of the industry they so admire, and it’s a great conversation starter.

One of the businesses to pioneer £1 on the bill in 2017 was the fabulous team at The Vineyard at Stockcross, who raised over £7000 in their first year running the scheme.  It’s amazing that something so simple can quickly gather momentum and drive some seriously life-changing funds for Hospitality Action.

We asked The Vineyard’s Restaurant Manager Rebecca to tell us a little bit more about fundraising for HA.

How easy did you find it to set-up and implement the scheme? 

The set up and implementation of the scheme was very easy and we had all the support we needed from HA

How did you promote the scheme and its benefits to guests? 

It is written on to the bill and we keep the leaflets available if anyone wants to have further information as well as briefing the teams who feel confident to talk about the charity and its work.

What were the guest reactions to the scheme when you told them about it?

On the whole they were happy to pay the pound – some choose not to if they have other charities they support but on the whole it has been very well supported and there’s never been an awkward moment.

The scheme at The Vineyard raised around £7,000 for Hospitality Action – how do you feel about that? 

Very happy – that’s 7,000 diners who have supported a scheme which means that the teams that looked after them have support later on in life if they need it.

What do you think are the benefits of supporting a charity like Hospitality Action? 

We have always had a charity that we raise money for – it is great that this charity now directly links into what we do – if people enjoy dining and staying out then supporting a charity like this makes complete sense. The story of Le Manoir’s Mitchell Collier really impacted our team and brought home to us how important it is to do our bit for HA.

Would you recommend the scheme to other restaurants, and if so, why?

Yes – that such a small amount on each bill can raise so much money is fantastic. And again, being part of something that directly links to each individual who works here has raised further awareness of the benefits available to them.

Adding just £1 may not seem like much, but you’ll be amazed at how much money you can raise to support your colleagues and fellow industry professionals through times of hardship.

We want as many businesses as possible to take up the scheme which can easily be applied to hotel stays as well as restaurant bills.

To get started email us and we’ll give you all the resources you need. You can find further info about the programme on our website, or check out or blog over on the Social Sunday website to discover how Hai Cenato ran with the idea to do something fantastic.

Saddle up and come along for the ride

 

Hospitality Action is delighted to launch its fifth annual Le Tour de Cuisine – Cotswold Cycle Challenge on Monday 10th June, kindly sponsored by Sky and The Calcot Collection.

Team Sky with their medals

You will be astounded to learn that since 2015 when it first launched, the Cotswold Cycle Challenge has raised a staggering £220,000 for the charity. If you are a past participant, thank you so much for your contribution, it’s a tremendous success!

Hotels, restaurants, caterers, suppliers and hospitality businesses from the South West came together to celebrate our wonderful industry and raise much needed funds for their favorite charity. It is such a great day out: team building, networking, getting fit, coming together and having fun, all for a good cause. See here a few of the participating companies over the years.

Team Gold Key Media
Team Creed

 

 

 

 

 

Following tradition, there will be four cycle routes to choose from, which will all take in the spectacular North Cotswold countryside and will start and finish at charming Calcot.

The short ride (20 miles) is perfect for those who fancy a leisurely cycle; for those who are up for more of a challenge, there are two mid-routes to choose from (40 and 60 miles); and if these are not tough enough, then the long route (100 miles) might be more to your flavour!

We have improved all the routes again this year, staying away from the tough hills and the busy roads, making sure that cyclists of all abilities and ambition can take part and still enjoy the ride. Along the way, there will be feeding stations at Whatley Manor, The Manor at Castle Combe and at the Village Hall in Barnsley, which will offer an array of delicious delights kindly arranged by local hotels. At the finishing line at Calcot, cyclists will once again be able to enjoy a complimentary glass of Taittinger Champagne, kindly sponsored by Hatch Mansfield, a free leg massage, BBQ to celebrate their success including beverages and of course a well –deserved medal to celebrate your success.

The registration fee is £40, with a minimum of £100 sponsorship per person required to raise those much-needed funds for Hospitality Action’s cause. Let’s not forget that this is a fundraiser. Last year we raised over £50,000 for the charity, which was a truly magnificent effort.

We want to be able to assist even more hospitality people to turn their lives around this year, but we need your help to do it, so it would be really fantastic if you could participate once again with your teams and perhaps even cajole some additional industry riders to support and join in the fun! Let’s go for a record year. The funds you all raise really will make a huge difference to our work and will go towards supporting your colleagues in crisis, such as the Ellis Family.

For further information and to book your place, please visit our events page or email Maria at mcarter@hospitalityaction.org.uk

Show your support for Hospitality Action, come along for the ride!

A rare chance to network with the cream of UK hoteliers – and have some fun!

This year, the cream of the UK’s hoteliers will again don aprons and white gloves to work as waiters and sommeliers at our fourth biennial Back to the Floor event.

The idea is simple: eminent hoteliers dredge their service experience from the dustiest corners of their memories and negotiate some fiendish tasks (think silver service-d peas …), while their table guests reach for umbrellas and sou’westers to avoid a drenching by the hapless sommeliers.

This year’s event takes place at the Dorchester Hotel on 26 April, when 75 hoteliers, from Jason Adams of the Lygon Arms to Pim Wolfs of Dormy House, will be going back to their roots in aid of Hospitality Action.

I’ve been a sommelier at the previous three incarnations of this event. In Year One, at Pennyhill Park in 2013, I had the dubious honour of being named the lowest tipped sommelier, for which I was awarded a bottle of Blue Nun and the trophy pictured above. As I recall, Jeremy Rata helped me drown my sorrows with a steady supply of Laphroaig, later, in the hotel bar.

As well as the 75 hoteliers waiting at table, the Dorchester’s ballroom will be jam-packed with hotel teams who’ve come to watch their bosses’ ritual humiliation. We think this, and the storm of social media attention the event aways creates, makes Back to the Floor eminently sponsor-able.

Interested? Give me a call on 07919 324978.

We may be in competition but when it comes to giving something back we’re all one team, by Philip Newman-Hall

Little did I realise sitting at The Hotelier of The Year Lunch at Summer Lodge in 2010 that nearly ten years later the seeds of a post lunch discussion would still be germinating and that we would be arranging the fourth Back to the Floor Dinner at The Dorchester on April 26th 2019.

Mellowed by a glass of wine or two, Danny Pecorelli (MD Exclusive Hotels), Amanda Afiya (then Deputy Editor The Caterer), John Stauss (then GM The Four Seasons London), Simon Numphud (MD AA Hotel Services) and I were thinking of how we could give more back to Hospitality Action our main industry charity.

The light bulb moment came and the idea of Back to The Floor was sown.

Senior Hoteliers and Industry luminaries could go back to their roots and be waiters for a night serving guests and raising money at the same time.

I thought at the time that it would be a one off event and that would be that. How wrong could I be?

In 2013 the first seed eventually germinated…….yes three years is a long germination but sometimes things are worth waiting for.

Danny Pecorelli kindly hosted the first Back to the Floor dinner for 120 guests at Pennyhill Park and a team of 16 delivered an impeccable night of riotous hilarity (supposedly called service) compered by Peter Hancock to our guests who kindly donated £25,000 to Hospitality Action. Unfortunately I won the award for the “worst waiter” on the night………..never let these things get you down!

That’s that I stupidly thought.

Not to be……..Danny and others said we should do it again….and again….and again….

We progressed in 2015 to The Langham, London where Duncan Palmer kindly provided the venue. 220 guests, 40 industry luminaries brought together in a common cause and £52,000 raised for Hospitality Action.

2017 took us to Grosvenor House, kindly hosted by Stuart Bowery, 350 guests, 55 members of the team and £91,000 raised. (I believe this still to be the highest amount raised at a single event for Hospitality Action).

2019 is now upon us and we are going to do it all over again. Zoe Jenkins of The Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park very kindly persuaded the team at The Dorchester to host this years event and we are hoping for 400 guests, 70+ Industry professionals and to raise over £100,000 for Hospitality Action on the evening of Friday 26th April. Peter Hancock will be performing his usual magic act of removing money from guests pockets via auctions and raffles! My sincere thanks to the kind folk at Laurent-Perrier for generously providing towards our champagne reception, sadly I cannot guarantee there will be no spillages.

The guests at each event have been a mixture of industry and our guests get an opportunity of really meeting the hotel GM or industry luminary who is serving them in a very relaxed manner. It’s better networking than any sales event!!

Danny Pecorelli and Julian Tomlin at Back to the Floor 3, 2017

None of the above would have been possible without the generous support of the host hotels, the teams in them, the industry leaders who give their time to be the waiters and the sommeliers, our suppliers of food and beverage and the people especially at Hospitality Action and those who support the logistics behind the events. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

This brings me back to the title of this piece. We may be in competition but as an industry the hospitality industry is brilliant at working together for a common cause. We all know that we have led charmed and blessed lives working in hospitality but not everyone is as fortunate as us. It only takes a serious illness or a mental breakdown or sudden death to bring a family to its knees and it is up to us to support those members of our profession in their time of need.

Back to the Floor is a fun way for senior industry professionals to give back and highlight what is important in society today. It also makes us all realise what hard work cooking and serving our guests is and that our teams give so much each and every day.

I have been proud to have been a small part along with many colleagues of Back to the Floor and hope that it will be part of the industry calendar every other year for many years to come.

I started with germination, like an Oak Tree which started as an Acorn, our little post lunch seed has to me blossomed beautifully.

If you would like to donate a prize, purchase any places or perhaps even sponsor the evening please contact Giuliana: gvittiglio@hospitalityaction.org.uk or call 020 3004 5504 for any further information.

Stand up and be counted: How you can lend your support this year

2018 was yet another record 12 months for HA as we spent over £880,000 supporting more hospitality people in need than ever before. We were there for the waiters and chefs, event planners and kitchen porters, restaurateurs and food operators, to make sure that every member of our community had somewhere to turn in their hour of need. With UK hospitality set for an uncertain time one thing will remain set in stone; HA will be there to lend a helping hand when times get tough.

Of course, we can only be there thanks to the generosity of our fantastic supporters. A great way to get involved and kick start our New Year fundraising is to attend one of our renowned events! Not only will you network with industry greats, have a fantastic time and enjoy delicious food and wines but the money we raise will help people just like Rebekah, Daniel and the Ellis family. Be sure to save the following dates so you and your colleagues can attend one of the following fantastic events:

A Tour of Highclere Castle including lunch and afternoon tea at
The Vineyard at Stockcross, Monday 8th April
Enjoy a stunning three course lunch at the Vineyard
with a tour of Highclere Castle, the real ‘Downton Abbey’

Back to the Floor 4, The Dorchester, Friday 26th April
It’s fourth time lucky as senior figures from the industry go Back to the Floor once again!

The Big Fat Quiz, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London, Spring TBC
Put your general knowledge to the test and be sure not to miss out
on your chance to become our 2019 Quiz champion

Northern Polo Day, Cheshire Polo Club, Sunday 23rd June
Enjoy a wonderful lunch prepared by award-winning winning chefs
prior to a thrilling game of polo

Social Sunday, nationwide, Sunday 30th June
Participate in Social Sunday and serve up something special this summer

South West Polo Day, Beaufort Polo Club, Sunday 15th September
Enjoy an outstanding lunch prepared by award-winning chefs
prior to a spot of polo and afternoon tea

Northern Lights Dinner – Autumn TBC
Celebrate the best the North West has to offer

Chairman’s Golf Day, Buckinghamshire Golf Club, Wednesday 9th October
Join us for our fourth annual Chairman’s Golf Day

Christmas Fundraising Dinner, London, Monday 25th November
Kick-start the party season with HA; celebrated chefs to be announced

If you fancy taking on a personal challenge don’t forget we have plenty of adrenaline-filled experiences in store for those wishing to raise funds and get fit at the same time.

Or why not consider nominating us as your Charity of the Year? By doing so you’ll have the opportunity to promote your organisation to a wider audience, achieve your Corporate Social Responsibility objectives, motivate and team build, generate great PR and, most importantly, make a real difference whilst having fun!

However you decide to support us this year you’ll be making a real and direct difference. Now is the time to stand up and be counted so be sure to keep an eye on our events page or send me an email fundraising@hospitalityaction.org.uk to get involved.

Commit to getting fit in 2019

Happy New Year to all of our fantastic supporters, I hope you had a restful Christmas and you’re looking forward to the year ahead. Who knows where it will take you! After the indulgences and excesses of the festive season, this is the time of year that we resolve to get fitter, maybe lose a few pounds and set a goal to work towards. If this sounds familiar, and you need a little motivation, why not sign up for a challenge event on behalf of HA today?

Take a look at these fun and adrenaline pumping challenges that you can choose from:

The Great Manchester 10k – Sunday 19th May
Le Tour de Cuisine, The Cotswold Cycle Challenge – Monday 10th June
ASICS London 10k – Sunday 21st July
Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 – Sunday 4th August
Le Tour de Cuisine, The Northumberland Cycle Challenge – Monday 9th September

Not to mention year-round sky dives at locations across the UK for the thrill seekers amongst you!

By working towards a challenge with HA you’re more likely to hit your fitness goals and fundraising targets knowing that every hill you cycle or mile you run will help fellow hospitality people in need.

Mark West and his mum

The money you raise by committing to get fit on our behalf will go towards helping people just like Mark whose mum passed away from lung disease last year. With no life insurance or funeral policy in place, and no other close relatives to share the burden, Mark and his brother were left to split the cost of her funeral between them. Thankfully we were able to help cover Mark’s share due to the overwhelming generosity of our supporters. Please rest assured that every mile you run or hill you cycle will make a massive difference to the lives of our industry colleagues.

To make 2019 your time to shine simply give me a call on: 020 3004 5504 or email me: gvittiglio@hospitalityaction.org.uk

Here’s to a great year ahead!