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At last, some glimmer of hope for hospitality. Outdoor hospitality could reopen from April 12th, with hopes that indoor service could resume by May. It’s a step forward for sure, but while the uncertainty remains over these dates and indeed the future of many businesses, how do you motivate a struggling industry in the most challenging period that we have faced for generations?

There is no magic wand unfortunately, but it’s encouraging at least to see that the industry events and awards season has not been cancelled despite the continuation of social distancing, forced closures and other pressures as a result of COVID-19.

Publishers and industry associations have been getting creative with their events in a bid to get people together and I’m loving it. Already this month, Public Sector Catering held a webinar on buying local in partnership with Love British Food, the MA500 Conference ran online and the National Association of Care Catering is holding a virtual cooking demo on February 25th.

I was also excited to see the line-up for the Sp Virtual Next event next month, a virtual trade show for the foodservice equipment industry from specification company Specifi. Apart from anything else, this creativity from event organisers is giving me the opportunity to ‘attend’ far more events that I would normally.

Awards for all

It’s also heartening to see the number of morale-boosting awards being run online in these strange times we’re living in. Whether it is for operators or suppliers, award ceremonies remain a fantastic way to reward and recognise success. And boy do we need it more than ever right now.

We’ve seen some of the industry’s oldest and most prestigious recognition schemes announce their winners online,, whilst publishers launch new award categories to showcase suppliers who are doing their bit to support operators through the pandemic.

Here’s a quick recap of some of my favourite award ceremonies that are helping to motivate us all, throughout the entire supply chain:

  • The online launch of the Michelin Guide 2021, which saw two UK restaurants awarded three stars for the first time despite the challenges of the last 12 months. Normally the Guide is launched with a star-studded event in Autumn, but Twitter was alight with congratulations and thanks instead.
  • The 2020 Footprint Awards, which honour the achievements of companies in the area of sustainability and responsible business practice in the out of home sector. The awards were postponed in May, then July, then September as organisers tried their best to stick to a live face-to-face event, but they will now be held as a virtual event on March 17th.
  • The 16th annual British Curry Awards (The Curry Oscars), which premiered in a YouTube live stream event in December. This pioneering online concept received rave reviews and the video is now approaching 80,000 views – perhaps offering some food for thought for award ceremonies going forwards?
  • And finally Catering Insight’s new ‘Lockdown Launches’, a new initiative showcasing the best new product releases as chosen by distributors. I was also delighted to be able to submit two client entries into this one, which is another fantastic morale-booster for those in the equipment sector and we await the winners with interest.

Could I help you to maximise your brand through industry awards? Connect with me on LinkedIn and ask about PR, awards and event support.