The inaugural Global Restaurant Awards enjoyed a glittering launch last night in Dubai with legendary restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King carrying off the top accolade.
They were presented with the Global Restaurateur of the Year Award during a celebratory dinner hosted by Jumeirah Restaurant Group in the Al Falak Ballroom of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.
The new awards - aimed at recognising the businesses that form the backbone of the world's leading restaurants and restaurant brands - were launched by The Caterer and its parent company, Travel Weekly Group, in partnership with Bench Events, whose Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) was held at the Burj this week.
Industry leaders celebrated the innovation, vision and leadership in restaurants worldwide with a dinner prepared by, among others, London-based Michelin-starred French chef Pascal Aussignac of Club Gascon.
Duncan Horton, chief executive of Travel Weekly Group, Europe's largest B2B travel and hospitality media company, said: "The Caterer has been the leading media brand for the UK hospitality industry for approaching 140 years. The launch of the Global Restaurant Awards, in partnership with our friends at Bench Events, has given us an opportunity to recognise success on a global stage, and it's an opportunity we're relishing.
"Through the generous support of Jumeirah Restaurant Group, this important awards event has been able to play out against the opulent backdrop of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai.
"I'm delighted that, thanks to the support of our sponsors and expert judges, we have got these awards off to the best possible start, with a roster of outstanding winners from around the globe. Scanning the operators on our winners' list, it's great to know that the global restaurant industry's future is in safe hands".
The complete list of winners at the Global Restaurant Awards were:
Global Restaurateur of the Year Award: Chris Corbin and Jeremy King
In London they are considered as royalty, but their influence extends far beyond the United Kingdom, with their appealing brasseries in the European style inspiring others far and wide.
Design Award: Berners Tavern, London
The design skills of Ian Schrager and the culinary expertise have combined to create a restaurant which the judges described as "outrageously brilliant in its design, appearance and character".
Food Excellence Award: Hakkasan Group
From its roots in 2001, as a high-end contemporary Chinese restaurant in London, the group has since opened restaurant, lounge and nightlife sites across the world, consistently maintaining the quality of its food.
Hotel F&B Excellence Award: Hotel Metropole, Monte Carlo
Superstar French chef Joël Robuchon oversees all elements of the operation from its flagship, two Michelin-starred Restaurant Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo to its conference and banqueting services.
International Growth Award: Union Square Hospitality Group for Shake Shack
Danny Meyer's Shake Shack hamburger concept now boasts 66 outlets across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Australasia and Asia, with customers queueing whatever the location.
Restaurant Technology Award: Panera Bread
American bakery-café giant Panera Bread transformed the guest journey with digital hubs, allowing guests with to-go and eat-in speedy menu-browsing and ordering, alongside easy access to nutritional information.
Sustainability Award: The University of Massachusetts Amherst University Dining Service (UMASS)
UMASS, the US's largest collegiate foodservice program by revenue, serving 45,000 meals daily to 28,000 students, promotes foodservice with a conscience through a "healthy and resilient" local food system.
Investor Award: Ferit Sahenk, D.ream
Sahenk's vast restaurant empire, involving some 170 high-end concepts between Turkey, London and Hong Kong, has been created since March 2012.
New Concept Award: MOD Pizza
MOD Pizza's 90-strong US estate of fast-casual pizza restaurants, built up since 2008, adheres to a simple mantra: provide guests with a food offering that is fast, affordable and healthy.
Marketing Award: Tony Roma's
Tony Roma's offer of BBQ ribs and steaks in over 150 global restaurants has stemmed a decline in sales by focusing on its core product, its ribs, and by "getting saucy" with its marketing communications.
Regional Award: Zuma Dubai
Rainer Becker's contemporary take on Japanese cuisine (already established in London, Hong Kong and Istanbul) opened in Dubai in 2009, since when it has become the defining restaurant in the growth of the local fine dining scene.