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Viewpoint: Generosity and hospitality

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Viewpoint: Generosity and hospitality

This festive season, let’s try to extend our hospitality to those who will really need it, says Anna Fenten

While changing times and trends have an impact on what people expect from a memorable hospitality experience, the key to success remains the same: an uncompromising commitment to giving the best service.

It is a simple formula understood by Searcys’ founder, John Searcy, when he became the UK’s first event caterer more than 170 years ago. Back in 1847, having served the Duke and the Duchess of Northumberland for many years as a pastry chef, they gave him a small loan to set up his own catering company, John Searcy and Sons. Searcys went on to become one of the most respected UK caterers, with a renowned reputation for hospitality and service.

Still a vital part of Searcys’ key values, for us generosity and hospitality go hand in hand. Generosity in service comes in providing the warmest of welcomes; the best possible experience to every single guest at every single venue and event.

However, in our industry, generosity isn’t just about good service and the sharing of knowledge – it’s also about giving something back. While Christmas is a crucial sales time for hospitality, it is also a time to bring people together around food, celebrating kindness and sharing, which is why this year we are partnering with Beyond Food as part of our ‘A Very Searcys Christmas’ campaign.

Beyond Food is a community-focused company aiming to inspire people who are at risk of, or have experienced, homelessness, to gain meaningful employment in hospitality.

Beyond Food works across London with a wide range of homelessness organisations, services and referral agencies, offering catering and front-of-house training programmes.

The Beyond Food philosophy has been developed around chef-founder Simon Boyle’s belief that food nourishes relationships. The participants get to meet new people and visit new places, as well as gaining valuable employability and catering skills, boosting confidence and self-esteem.

This festive season, we are supporting the charity across our venues and events. Our campaign started at the beginning of November, inviting diners at St Pancras
Brasserie, Osteria and Bonfire at the Barbican, St Paul’s Cathedral Tearoom, Helix
Restaurant at the Gherkin and the Design Museum Kitchen to donate £1 per bill.

The same scheme has been extended to private dining and events at 30 Pavilion Road and our private dining venues. We are hugely proud to get behind this
initiative with Beyond Food, and the campaign – aimed to reach more than 30,000 guests, has been wonderfully supported by our staff and customers.

Most importantly, we have started working with Beyond Food to provide job placements for their culinary graduates within our restaurants and venues. The holiday season is a crucial time for the hospitality industry to celebrate joy and happiness, but it is also an important time for charitable giving, which will support the future generations of chefs.

Anna Fenten is head of brand, communications and marketing at Searcys

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