The hospitality industry was at the centre of last week's G20 summit and associated protests with hotels, restaurants and City caterers experiencing both benefits and drawbacks.
Richard, Earl of Bradford, proprietor of Porters English Restaurant in Covent Garden and vice chairman of the Restaurant Association, hit out at the decision to hold the summit in London.
"If Gordon Brown was really serious about ensuring the economic survival of Britain, then he would have not have held the G20 Summit in London and caused immense harm to London businesses over the two days," he told Caterersearch. "The impression is that he wanted to orchestrate a grand show and boost his fading popularity, at the expense of others. We saw heavily reduced takings along with almost everyone else."
Graham Bamford, general manager at the Royal Garden hotel in Kensington, which hosted the Russian and Australian delegations, was more positive, describing the summit as "a shot in the arm at a difficult time and good for business".
At the ExCel centre in east London, where the summit took place, it was good news Compass Group, whose Leith's division provided the general catering. However, Creativevents, which provides catering at the centre on a standard day, was asked to stand down, although Adrian Wilson, the company's managing director insisted it did so "amicably".
Meanwhile, over in the City of London, where thousands gathered to protest, contract caterers were forced to adapt. Elior ordered in extra stock and changed some menus to temporarily make more use of dry and frozen goods in case protests affected deliveries.
But with most City clients facing lockdown on the premises, Simon Titchner, managing director at ISS Eaton, said: "Actually the protests helped us as takings were up across the business as all customers used their internal restaurant facilities as they could not go out."
By Gemma Sharkey and Chris Druce
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