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In one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the world, the Ritz London's restaurant team serve immaculately presented, classic dishes using the best of British produce, while showcasing dazzling traditional service skills.
Executive chef John Williams and head chef Spencer Metzger continue to build on the principles and beliefs of Auguste Escoffier, drawing inspiration from classic dishes and making them relevant to today's diner. Similarly, restaurant manager Luigi Cagnin and his team consistently showcase the very highest level of technical expertise and personalised service.
The team has maintained its high standards despite the industry's staffing crisis and the challenges presented by the pandemic and Brexit. This has been in no small part due to the successful retention of team members, with eight senior people having been with the team for more than 10 years and Cagnin for more than 15.
Team members receive weekly service skills and guéridon training as well as regular workshops in Champagne, spirits, wine, cocktails and cheese. Menu tastings are held and team members partake in competitor site visits and experiences to build their knowledge.
Alongside maintaining skill levels to continue the table-side demonstration of dishes, such as canard à la presse and crêpe Suzette, the team has collaborated to develop and improve, for example by transforming the breakfast operation to an entirely à la carte offering, involving a complete overhaul of the menu and order of service.
Cost increases have necessitated price rises but the team have striven to ensure guests continue to receive value for money through new experiences and menus, a focus on wine service, increased tableside interaction, the creation of tea trolley and an entertainment offering on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Bespoke events have also given the team an opportunity to showcase their skills and entice new diners, with a BBC Big Band gala dinner celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee priced at £750 a head selling out within 12 hours. Their efforts have delivered financial rewards with revenue exceeding budgets and average spend increasing by £20 during lunch and £80 during dinner. The team has also increased its involvement with marketing, working with the Ritz London's director of communication to create social media content.
This success can be seen not only in the retention of the Ritz London's Michelin star and four AA rosettes, but in the multitude of awards its team members have been finalists in and in some cases won in the last 12 months. It can now add a Hotel Catey to its bulging trophy cabinet.
What the judges said
"The Ritz London's people really make the difference on a day-to-day basis. The recognitions of the past years are clearly showing the improvement in service they are looking for."
"A restaurant that works like clockwork demands real teamwork. It is obvious that they look after one another and that there is a real focus on the guest experience. Well done!"
Kimpton Blythswood Square hotel
The Ritz London
2021 The Bridge and the Vicarage, Flat Cap Hotels, Cheshire
2019 Glenapp Castle
2018 Holborn Dining Room
2017 Ham Yard, London
2016 The Balmoral, Edinburgh
2015 Charlotte Street Hotel, London
2014 Northcote, Langho, Lancashire
2013 The Montague on the Gardens, London
2012 The Dining Room at the Goring, London
2011 Chino Latino Restaurant, Park Plaza Riverbank, London
2010 Brasserie Max, Covent Garden Hotel, London
2009 Simon Girling, the Ritz London
2008 John Mackle, the Granary Beefeater and Peterborough (Ferry Meadows) Premier Inn
2007 Chris Galvin, London Hilton on Park Lane