Leading hoteliers from across the UK raised £92,000 for industry charity Hospitality Action (HA) after staging a gala dinner at the Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott hotel, on Friday night.
Back to the Floor 3 saw Danny Pecorelli of Exclusive Hotels & Venues, advisor and consultant Philip Newman-Hall, Jonathan Raggett of Red Carnation hotels and Stuart Bowery of the Grosvenor House, together with more than 50 star waiters and sommeliers, test their silver service skills at a banquet for more than 370 guests.
Guest sommeliers included Peter Ducker of the Institute of Hospitality, Julia Sibley of the Savoy Educational Trust, Mark Lewis of The Caterer and Giovanna Grossi of AA Hotel Services.
Commenting on the evening, Bowery, general manager of the Grosvenor House and the 2013 Hotelier of the Year, said: "The Great Room at Grosvenor House has certainly seen its fair share of unusual and prestigious events over the years, but I can certainly say the Great Room has never seen anything like this. I jumped at the chance to host Back to the Floor 3 for Hospitality Action in its 180th birthday year, and I'd like to thank everyone who purchased a ticket and who took part in the evening's fun. We couldn't have done it without them."
Celebrity waiters included Stuart Procter of the Stafford, Sally Beck of the Royal Lancaster, 2016 Hotelier of the Year Craig Bancroft, Ciaran Fahy of the Ritz, and Michael Shepherd of the Hilton London on Park Lane. The master of ceremony for the event was Pride of Britain Hotels' Peter Hancock. Seasoned hotelier and photographer Jeremy Rata, who has recently launched his new photography business Ben & Jeremy Photography, captured the event on camera.
Newman-Hall, the former managing director of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, who orchestrated the event, said: "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. The combined total of all three Back to the Floor events is over £170,000. 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."
Exclusive Hotels & Venues managing director Danny Pecorelli said: "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. 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 said that Bowery and his team had gone to great lengths to ensure as much money as possible was raised for HA. "My sincere thanks to everyone who made Back to the Floor 3 such a triumph, especially to Stuart Bowery and the entire team at Grosvenor House. Without them the evening simply would not have been possible.
"I would also like to thank Lanson International which was so generous with its Champagne donation, and to Hatch Mansfield which so kindly donated the wine. Thank you to all those who donated prizes and gave up their time to be a waiter or a sommelier. I know how hard everyone works in their day jobs running the most prestigious hotels across the UK. We really are indebted to them and the great efforts they have gone to for Hospitality Action in our 180th birthday year."
Speaking to guests on the night, Newman-Hall said that Hospitality Action had that evening been offered the ballroom at London's Dorchester hotel for Back to the Floor 4. The event is expected to take place in 2019.
Newman-Hall told The Caterer: "I can't thank Stuart and the team, and particularly Klaus Lehr, who led the waiting team, for the extraordinary amount of work they put into the event. The time and effort put in by the Grosvenor House was amazing - not just helping with the serving, but setting up and clearing up after us as well - all those things that we luckily didn't have to do.
"I was delighted with the total raised and we're still waiting on the final total - hopefully a bit more may still come in. So with the three Back to the Floors put together, plus my parachute jump which raised another £12,000, we've raised over £180,000. It's been an honour to help those not as fortunate as us."