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!

2019. Helping more people. More quickly…

Regardless of your political persuasion, our evidence suggests that demand for our services has increased as a direct result of the issues surrounding Brexit, and the time this has taken away from looking for solutions to the other issues facing the UK. In fact, in the last quarter of 2018 applications for grants increased by 40% year-on-year and there was a 12% rise in calls to our helpline. People are worried.

We are seeing an increased demand from applicants who have applied for Universal Credit, most facing weeks of uncertainty before receiving a payment. This leaves us wondering….. How can we help more people more quickly?

One practical thing we can do is to simplify the criteria around who is eligible for our help, which is why we have tweaked our eligibility criteria.

From now, to be considered for our help, you must either be working in the industry right now, or have worked in the industry for at least five years in your entire career. This replaces ‘Worked within the industry for either one continuous year in the past five; for seven years in their lifetime’ criteria which was both confusing some applicants and taking up vast amounts of time for our caseworkers to verify.

It might not sound much, but this simple change will enable us to more quickly respond to grant applications from people whose need is even more pressing than ever due to the current situation.

Of course, any change like this can’t just be implemented over night, so any grant application already received that qualified under the old criteria will still be processed.

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!