50 Best team launches ‘recovery’ auction as hard-hit hospitality sector seeks lifelines

By Oliver Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Getty/dima_sidelnikov
Image: Getty/dima_sidelnikov

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As restaurant businesses emerge from the pandemic seeking support, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants – an annual ranking of the top 50 restaurants across the globe and which is owned and run by FoodNavigator publisher William Reed Business Media -- has launched an online auction to raise funds for the embattled hospitality industry.

The 'Bid for Recovery' auction​, which will run until 12 July, offers over 100 lots donated by bars, restaurants and individuals. The organiser said the auction offers “food and travel enthusiasts the opportunity to bid for out-of-this-world gastronomic experiences with the world’s best chefs”.

The funds raised will provide “direct and tangible financial relief”​ for restaurants worldwide as they emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lots that have been donated include a day with Maura Colagreco, chef at Mirazur in southern France, named the “Best Restaurant in the World”, by 50 Best in 2019; a four-day experience in Singapore that provides accommodation at both the Marina Bay Sands and Capella Singapore hotels, while taking in the best of the city’s superb cuisine and cocktails, including a trip to the celebrated Atlas bar; and a three-day Peruvian food safari led by Chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pia León, the husband-and-wife team behind the globally renowned Central restaurant in Lima.  

Other highlights include:

  • An ultimate Delhi food experience for four people with Indian Accent, India
  • A three-day culinary safari in São Paulo with A Casa do Porco, Brazil
  • A cocktail masterclass, dinner and night in a suite at iconic Connaught Hotel, London, UK
  • Eating, drinking, shopping & clubbing in Berlin with Nobelhart & Schmutzig, Germany
  • An overnight Soča Valley immersion with Ana Roš from Hiša Franko, Kobarid, Slovenia
  • A fishing and feasting day with Florilège in Tokyo, Japan
  • A gastronomy and culture tour in Vienna with Steirereck, including a helicopter ride, Austria
  • A Mexico City tasting tour with Édgar Núñez of Sud777, Mexico
  • Three days of gastronomic discovery in Moscow with White Rabbit and Selfie, Russia
  • Rare bottles of spirits, chefs’ artworks, private cooking classes, wine region tours, sailing trips, exclusive tastings and bespoke parties

The 50 Best team will distribute all proceeds to restaurants, bars and non-profit organisations supporting the sector in three ways. Bars and restaurants can apply for direct grants of up to $5,000. 50 Best will make additional donations to charitable organisations including Lee Initiative’s Restaurant Reboot Relief Program and Black Urban Growers, both in the US; Nosso Prato in Brazil; the Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund in South Africa; the National Restaurant Association of India’s Feed the Needy campaign; Horeca Next in Belgium; Italy’s Ambasciatori del Gusto; the newly founded Singapore Cocktail Bar Association; and Chefs for Spain, the Spanish arm of World Central Kitchen.

50 Best will also join forces with Social Gastronomy Movement, a global network of charitable organisations across 38 different countries, in its campaign to provide 1 million meals to those most in need.

William Drew, Director of Content for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, said: “It is heart-warming to see some of the most internationally established chefs and restaurants offering out-of-this-world experiences for the 50 Best ‘Bid for Recovery’ Auction from 3 July. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and support from chefs, restaurant owners, bar owners, commercial partners and tourism boards offering truly unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to bidders as we aim to raise as much money as possible to support our industry and give back to the global restaurant sector.

“This is a clear indication of the solidarity of the global restaurant community. Now we ask all those who love restaurants and are blessed with sufficient resources to take part in the auction and, crucially, spread the word to like-minded foodies across the world.”

The auction is a key fund-raising element of the 50 Best for Recovery programme, which aims to provide advice and support for the beleaguered global restaurant and bar industry.

50 Best has also published an e-cookbook called ‘Home Comforts: simple lockdown recipes from the world’s best chefs and bartenders’​, the proceeds of which will go directly into the recovery fund.

In addition, 50 Best will host a virtual Recovery Summit in September, which aims to explore the ways the restaurant world can thrive once again. The organiser said the summit “will gather the global gastronomic community together online to share learnings, promote best practices and explore visions of a post-pandemic world for restaurants and diners”.

The great COVID reset: companies need to re-wire their business plans

As the COVID crisis subsides, the European Commission has identified the worst-hit sectors as travel, hospitality and tourism. The hospitality decline has also had a knock-on impact on food suppliers.

A new report from market researcher IGD entitled Eating In Vs Dining Out​ outlines four possible scenarios, all of which paint a bleak picture for restaurants and foodservice companies.  

Its most positive scenario sees “food and drink consumption largely shift to home”​ and that “eating out [will] return to levels experienced in 2019 in two years’ time”.

Rhian Thomas, Head of Shopper Insight at IGD, added that all food companies need to think like start-ups in order to negotiate uncertain times.

“COVID-19 has resulted in the boundaries between in-home and out-of-home consumption breaking down further and faster than any of us could have imagined. The future is unpredictable; we don’t know what path the virus will take or how lockdown measures will affect the performance of markets in the medium to longer term,”​ she said.  

“In this highly uncertain environment, it is crucial that retailers and suppliers are able to respond successfully and quickly to events as they unfold. Considering which changes in shopper behaviour will become permanent will help identify the solutions that you want your business to nurture.

“Foodservice companies must balance customer focus with practical, operational issues and work collaboratively with partners to achieve this. Much thought must be given to the best time to reopen and foodservice companies must be prepared to rewrite their business plans with a start-up mentality.”

All details of the auction and ecookbook are available on the 50 Best for Recovery webpage​, as well as via Instagram @TheWorlds50Best and Facebook @50BestRestaurants

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