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Number One restaurant at the Balmoral has held three AA rosettes for 11 years, and a Michelin star for 14 consecutive years. It is led by restaurant director Gary Quinn and executive chef Jeff Bland, who have overseen the operation since 1997.
Number One is a seven-day-a-week, 55-cover restaurant with a focus on modern Scottish cuisine. Every day, the team discusses menu changes, new ingredients and paired wines, and receives an overview of the guests in order to deliver stellar service.
Alongside daily briefings, the team is motivated through weekly product training sessions with head chef Brian Grigor, in the presence of suppliers and other members of staff, including the restaurant director and sommelier. The team is also encouraged to take trips around the world visiting abattoirs, cheese makers, fruit farms and vineyards.
After undergoing an induction and training programme, staff are expected to deliver the highest Leading Quality Assurance standards in line with the Balmoral's in-house training. All members have achieved at least a level two in Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) training, and a further four have gone on to complete level three.
Individuals have also collected their own awards, including Quinn, who won Restaurant Manager of the Year at the Scottish Hotel Awards, while Alexander Macleod won Young Waiter of the Year at the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Awards.
The positivity and strength of the team reflect well on the restaurant, which has seen a record-breaking 18 months as a result of increased covers following a recent refurbishment and menu development. Sales are also up 19.5% on last year and 44% on two years ago.
Team members often excel in their job roles, creating memorable experiences for guests. In the past they have created hand-written tasting menus and food and wine descriptions for guests who were hearing impaired and could not lipread.
The Balmoral team is also involved in a series of initiatives and charity work. A recent project saw the hotel introduce 50,000 bees to the rooftop to produce home-grown honey for the restaurant. This is a well-deserved win for a hard-working hotel restaurant team.
What the judges said
"I was impressed with their longevity of staff. It's outstanding that they have retained three AA rosettes and a Michelin star for over a decade. The restaurant is consistently highly rated on TripAdvisor and the results after 2000 reviews are amazing!"
Craig Jackson, Northcote, Lancashire
"To retain three AA rosettes and a Michelin star for over a decade takes total team work. It is not often you see such consistent delivery of fantastic food and service. Gary Quinn and his team deserve the win after a decade of achieving such high accolades."
Sarah Holden, the Pig near Bath
"It's great to see long-serving staff still providing excellent service. A very high TripAdvisor rating, coupled with several thousand reviews, is impressive. There is a strong emphasis on training and development and a real focus on the guest."
Stuart Geddes, the Goring, London
"I have great respect and admiration for such a long-standing management duo."
Geoff Booth, Professional Association for Catering Education (PACE)
The Balmoral Edinburgh
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