Are there too many food and drink awards?


There was a time when restaurants and hotels and their staff received little public recognition for doing things well. But today organisations are queuing up to dish out awards to them.

When it comes to awards, forget the film industry. It’s the hospitality industry that wants to shower people with praise.  At one time, it was all about Michelin. But now the number up for grabs each year is staggering. Here’s just a few.

AA Hospitality Awards

National Restaurant Awards

BBC Food and Drink Awards

BBC Food and Farming Awards

Restaurant Bar and Design Awards

European Hospitality Awards

Trip Advisor Best Restaurants

Big Hospitality Awards

The Good Food Guide Restaurant Awards

Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards

Green Restaurant Awards

Tatler Restaurant Awards

British Hospitality Association Awards

The Grocer Food and Drink Awards

The Caterer Awards

Quality Food Awards

Evening Standard Restaurant Awards

Food Made Good Awards

Observer Food Monthly Awards

The Grocer Own Label Food and Drink Awards

There are many others, including a raft of regional and other awards. Near where I live in south-east London there are three Indian takeaways within a few yards of each other – and each displays an image in the window of some kind of curry award it has won.

It’s fantastic when people are recognised for excellence. We all love recognition. But are these awards really about excellence?  Or is it that the restaurants, chefs, and producers are simply just vehicles to gain publicity for the companies sponsoring the awards? If they are, perhaps they don’t mind, as an award is seen a useful marketing tool on web sites and doors.

And how are the winners selected and by who?  Who puts up the money for the champagne reception? What’s more, do restaurants and hotels have to pay to be considered for an award?  Apparently with many wine awards, it costs if a producer wants to enter a bottle.

With so many awards being given out each year,  most come to have little meaning.  Maybe there will soon be an award for the restaurant or hotel that has never received award.  The problem is that there won’t be many to choose from.



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