Springboard Blog

The Springboard Awards for Excellence - What are we looking for?

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 Awards for Excellence 2018 Sponsor Header

The Springboard Awards celebrate the best the hospitality industry has to offer, rewarding businesses that show excellence in one or more particular fields – whether that’s implementing the latest digital technologies into their processes, or showing finesse in their recruitment procedures. And due to the high calibre of our industry’s businesses, entries are coming in fast… but what makes a good entry?

The judges are searching for companies that show continuous commitment to improving processes, and becoming the best of their particular field. Whether it’s forging strong links between the industry and educational institutions, raising the profile of the industry or showing unrivalled innovation and creativity in their initiatives – it’s about showing that they are the pinnacle of what they do. There are many different categories and awards to choose from, and businesses are able to submit applications for multiple categories. 

Companies need to submit their application through our online form. However, companies can’t just talk the talk – they need to be able to back up their claims that they’re the top of their field. They need to clearly explain – and show – what they’ve done to achieve their goals, and explain exactly how they did it. 

For example, let’s say ‘The Springboard Restaurant’ had recently been upping the ante on its Chef Development Strategy. They would need to be able to demonstrate effective and innovative processes, and an environment which would facilitate the attraction and growth of chefs. 

If you think you’ve got what it takes to win a Springboard Award for Excellence, and want to ask some questions, you can always drop us a message – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The KP - A Vital Cog in the Hospitality Machine

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Don’t judge a book by its cover. This phrase was repeatedly drummed into me as a child. Partly because it’s a highly important life lesson, but also because I was a book worm that often literally picked a book based on its cover. 

But have you ever done this? Have you ever judged something, someone based on their clothes, job role or salary? Have you ever paused to think about what their day actually entails? 

I ask because Winterhalter’s ‘KP Day’ is coming up. Let’s be honest, KP’s can often get tarred with a pretty harsh brush – but do you actually know what they do apart from washing dishes?

KPs (similar to housekeepers in hotels) are often the glue that holds a kitchen together a glue that is all too often forgotten about. So what does KP actually stand for? A ‘KP’ is a kitchen porter, although the role is often a lot more than just bussing and washing dishes. A KP’s day can start with washing, peeling and chopping 6 kilos of potatoes, followed by putting away 3 days’ worth of orders, including industrial sized tins of chopped tomatoes (let me tell you – you definitely know when you’ve dropped one of those bad boys on your toes!), huge sacks of flour and sugar, meat, fish and all kinds other ingredients. KP’s need to be up to date on health and safety procedures to prevent cross-contamination, as well as correct lifting procedure and so much more!

Meanwhile, the chefs are prepping for service and your previously sparkling sink is now full of burnt pans (chef’s call it caramelised, but for anyone washing the dishes it’s just burnt), kitchen knives that need sharpening and all manor of wooden spoons and chopping boards to clean! 

Then while you’re putting things away, you’re also running backwards and forwards from the store cupboards to help the chefs create their masterpieces, by bringing ingredients they’ve forgotten or run out of. 

All of this before a busy lunch service? Phew – I’m tired just thinking about it. By the time the ingredients are all away – you manage to clean you sink again and mentally prepare yourself for the pandemonium that service can sometimes bring. Waiting staff asking for cutlery to polish, chefs asking for spiders or spoons or more ingredients because chicken and mushroom pies have been flying out the door, putting plates away as another table of ten’s starters are cleared and land promptly on your now, very full work surface. 

Service is slowing now – there are just the late lunchers in and your side is starting to return to its former sparkling glory. The chefs are starting to clean down their station and the close down procedure is looming – a full clean down of the kitchen including brush, mop of the floors and wiping down the walls, changing bin bags, finish the dishes, wash out the dishwasher, put away the dry dishes and make sure all cutlery is ready for polishing. You are not alone in this tasks but considering all of this has taken place between 10am and 3pm you are considerably worn out and in desperate need of a cup of tea! 

3.15pm strikes the clock and you’re done – heading home for a few hours, before the second half of your split shift starts at 6pm. Oh yes many, KP’s do this twice in one day! 

Now, why am I rambling on about this? Well, as you can see KP’s are hardworking individuals, and are a vital cog in the kitchen mechanism! I have had some experience of being a KP, I often covered shifts in the kitchen when the pub I worked in was short staffed or we were incredibly busy. I was also designated KP during the Challenge Day, as part of the Hospitality Futures programme. By the end of the day my feet were sore and soaked (I couldn’t master the super dooper bendy tap!), but I had a great feeling of pride. Sure, I didn’t do any of the cooking (I would’ve probably given everyone food poisoning) but I was part of that kitchen, and I helped it run like a well-oiled machine.

If you are in industry and want to celebrate your hardworking KP’s please tweet about them using the #KPDay on 22nd June and help us celebrate all of the KP’s across the country!

National Waiters' Day Celebrates Food and Beverage Excellence!

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The campaign was backed by celebrities from across the industry, including Gordon Ramsey, Leigh Francis and Lorraine Kelly

National Waiters’ Day 2018 was a massive success, celebrating the UK’s fantastic food and beverage service industry.National Waiters’ Day 2018 was a massive success, celebrating the UK’s fantastic food and beverage service industry.

National Waiters’ Day is a vital UK-wide campaign, which encourages jobseekers into an industry that is so desperately crying out for them. To help spread the word, events have been held all over the country – from Cornwall to Edinburgh – to mark the importance our food and beverage service staff. 

The campaign began 6 years ago, initiated by First Dates’ host and Maître D’ of Galvin at Windows, Fred Sirieix. In collaboration with The Springboard Charity, the event recognises the hard work, dedication and talent of the waiters, baristas, and other food and beverage service workers. 

Waiters’ Day was backed by celebrities from across the industry, who strongly believe in the value of our food and beverage service staff. These celebrities – including the likes of Gordan Ramsey, Gino D’Acampo, Huw Edwards, Leigh Francis, Ore Oduba, Andrea McLean, Laura Tott, Jose Pizarro, and Cici Coleman – showed their support on social media, with selfies in the official National Waiters’ Day t-shirts.

The London event, held in Hyde Park on the 16th May, contained a variety of exciting activities – including stands from top hospitality businesses, the annual themed-race, and a prize giving ceremony – as well as free ice-cream, a football challenge and more.

The event was sponsored by Bunzl and Caterer.com, and involved a selection of fantastic companies – including Coople, Zizzi, HIT Training, Wagamama, Syft, Zuma and more. Each business was creative in their interactions with the students and job seekers – holding football shootouts, bartending trials and pillow-changing challenges. Even more businesses got involved in the race portion of the day – including The Ivy, One Aldwych and The Cavalry and Guards Club.

There were prizes for the fastest waiter and waitress, the fastest male and female student/jobseeker as well as the best dressed team. Fastest waitress was awarded to Nelli Nemcsik of Georgian House Hotel, who won an afternoon tea for two at Hilton London Syon Park. Jorge Llorets of the Marriot won fastest waiter, which was a Friday night gin and jazz experience for two, in Good Godfrey’s Bar at The Waldorf Hilton. 

When it came to the fastest male and female student, the prizes were awarded to Lisa Barnett and Chris Jenkinson, of Foxes Academy, who were given a full day of work experience, followed by an interview with the companies’ F&B Director. Finally, the award for best dressed team went to Landmark London – Sara, Charlotte and Theresa – who will be treated to a ‘Be My Guest’ stay at the Hilton.

Anne Pierce MBE, The Springboard Charity’s CEO, said “dining out with friends… morning lattes… post-work Friday night drinks – none of these would be possible without the UK’s food and drinks service teams. They are a vital part of our economy, they brighten up our lives every day, but their contributions, skills and professionalism are often overlooked.”

“That’s why National Waiters’ Day began, as a way to celebrate waiters and waitresses, bartenders, baristas, mixologists, and guest service staff – in fact, anyone working in food & drinks service throughout the country. The event is a great way to showcase their talent, to say thank you and promote careers in this growing sector. It also gives participating companies a chance to meet potential new talent, by encouraging job seekers and students to try out their skills and explore the potential in the fulfilling world of hospitality – as well as enjoy the spectacle of Waiters’ Day races, the length and breadth of the country!”

Fred Sirieix, founder of National Waiter's Day and General Manager at Galvin at Windows at the London Hilton on Park Lane, said, “I launched National Waiters’ Day back In 2012, and in that time the campaign has done an incredible job of honouring the wonderful food and beverage service workers from across the UK. Not only was it fantastic to see how the Hyde Park event inspired people into the industry, but also the many different ways people celebrated the National Waiters’ Day across the UK. I’m so excited for next year’s event, and hope to make it even better than ever.”

Neil Pattison, Sales Director of Caterer.com, said, “Caterer.com backs National Waiters’ Day because hospitality businesses are nothing without their skilled and dedicated food and drinks service staff. We want to help celebrate those employees, and showcase wonderful careers in the sector with some outstanding employers. 

If you or your company would like to get involved in next year’s event, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.