The gala dinner, which took place on Friday, enlists top hoteliers and hospitality figures into ‘going back to the floor’ to become sommeliers and waiters for the night.
Over 370 people attended the dinner in the Great Room at The Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott hotel, in London.
Figures taking part included organisers Danny Pecorelli, managing director at Exclusive Hotels & Venues, and Philip Newman-Hall, previously general manager at Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, and now consultant.
Pecorelli and Newman-Hall first launched the event in 2013 at luxury hotel Pennyhill Park, and it has since grown significantly to raise over £170,000 in total over the past three years.
Jonathan Raggett of hotel group Red Carnation, Peter Ducker of the Institute of Hospitality, and Giovanna Grossi of AA Hotel Services were also among the almost 60 ‘staff’ who took part.
"When Danny Pecorelli and I developed the idea of Back to the Floor over five years ago we could not have imagined that in 2017 we would have waited on nearly 400 guests in The Great Room at Grosvenor House," says Newman-Hall. "I cannot tell you how happy I am to have played a part in helping to raise such a great sum of money for a cause as worthy as Hospitality Action."
"In 2013 we hosted the first Back to the Floor at Pennyhill Park. There were 13 waiters and 7 sommeliers and we raised £25,000," says Pecorelli. "Now, four years later, we had nearly 60 industry greats take part in Back to the Floor 3 raising a whopping £92,000. It is only thanks to the tremendous efforts of my friends, colleagues and contemporaries that we have been able to achieve such a successful result."
Hospitality Action chief executive Penny Moore thanked everyone who had attended and taken part, adding: "The great lengths Stuart [Bowery, general manager of Grosvenor House] and his team went to to ensure as much money as possible was raised for Hospitality Action is utterly amazing."
Hospitality Action seeks to support past and present hospitality employees should they fall on hard times, both emotionally and financially.
It operates the Employee Assistance Programme – used by over 80,000 employees across over 70 companies ‒ and offers advice on issues such as stress, mental health problems, financial difficulties and substance issues.
Its most high-profile campaign in recent years included chefs such as Ashley Palmer-Watts, Angela Hartnett, Tom Kerridge, Jason Atherton and Heston Blumenthal suffering from issues including depression, domestic violence, serious injury, and addiction, with the tagline ‘it could happen to anyone’.
“The support and assistance Hospitality Action fives is invaluable,” said Atherton, speaking to BigHospitality at the time of that campaign.
“The charity offers aid, kindness and understanding when people are often at their lowest and most vulnerable, and this is a real life changer for many, myself included, and cannot be underestimated.”