Customers can gift Christmas back to busy hoteliers

Hospitality workers at Christmas

Hospitality workers at Christmas

Tens of thousands of workers in the UK hospitality sector will be helping people have a good Christmas. Now customers can nominate them to have their own special Christmas in January. Alternatively, chefs seeking to do more this Christmas can volunteer for Crisis.

According to The Trade Union Congress (TUC), there are around 42,000 chefs, 22,000 kitchen assistants, 15,000 waiting staff and 13,000 bar staff working in hotels, pubs and restaurants on Christmas Day. The campaign, which launches on 16th October, celebrates these tens of thousands of hospitality professionals who work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day in Britain.

Bidfood is calling on its customers to nominate individuals in their outlets who are either working Christmas Day or Boxing Day this year (and/or worked last year), that go the extra mile to make the festive period special for thousands of others.

Winners will be chosen via a panel of judges - five leading influencers from across the industry - including Bidfood's Group Sales & Marketing Director, Andy Kemp; Anne Pierce, Chief Executive at Springboard; Peter Hancock, Chief Executive at Pride of Britain Hotels; Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive at the British Hospitality Association; and Andy Jones, Chair of the Public Sector 100 Group.

Six winners will be revealed on 1st December across the below categories, and each will receive Christmas dinner with all the trimmings from Bidfood in January, once the busy period has passed, and a Virgin Experience Day voucher. Categories include:

  • Hospitals
  • Care homes
  • Restaurants
  • Pubs and pub restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Other (includes schools/universities, QSR and B&I)

Bidfood's Andy Kemp says, "We know our industry works hard to make Christmas special for everyone in the UK, with thousands giving up family time in the lead up, and often on Christmas Day itself. We want to hear about some of the standout individuals in our industry and thank them for their contribution.

"There is definitely a growing emphasis on our sector to play a bigger role in people's Christmas celebrations. Bookings for Christmas Day dinner have gone up 241% since 2011 alone which highlights the importance of recognising and rewarding our diverse and skilled workforce, and ensuring that working in our industry is an attractive career path for younger generations."

Entries are open from Monday 16 October to midnight on Friday 10 November and can be made online at

Meanwhile chefs who'd like to do more to help people this Christmas can volunteer for Crisis at Christmas.

In its 50th anniversary year, the homelessness charity event runs from 22 - 29 December 2017 with centres set to open across London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Coventry and Edinburgh. As well as warmth, companionship and hot meals, guests also receive healthcare and specialist advice on housing, work and benefits.

Giving guests three hot meals a day - along with the all-important Christmas Dinner - is one of the most important services on offer at Crisis at Christmas. Last year the volunteer catering team served 37,552 meals.

Crisis at Christmas centres are run by thousands of volunteers from all walks of life with registration now open at

Claire Fraser, Chef and volunteer, said, "Preparing the food at Crisis at Christmas allows me to be part of a truly essential service and is the most rewarding part of my year. It can be a challenge getting everything prepared and you have to be creative with the ingredients on hand if you're going to provide three hot and varied meals every day, but that is part of the fun.  

"Volunteering with Crisis becomes even more rewarding when you see what a positive impact it has on the guests' self-esteem. The hot meals help to build their strength over the week which in turn helps them to engage with the support services and start the journey away from homelessness."

One in four homeless people will face spending Christmas alone this year. With the homelessness crisis worsening, Crisis says the centres are needed now more than ever.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said, "Without our volunteers, Crisis at Christmas simply wouldn't exist to help provide a warm, safe place to those with nowhere to call home.

"It's because of their generosity that we can bring thousands of people friendship, support, and life-changing services each and every Christmas.

"And though we work all year round to help people experiencing homelessness – we know that the Christmas season should be a special time for everyone and that no one should have to spend it alone.

"So as our charity turns 50, we will work harder than ever to make homelessness a thing of the past. And until then our volunteers will remain at the heart of what we do."

Official government statistics showed that 4,134 people slept rough in England on any one night during 2016 - this is over double the amount counted in 2010 and up 16% from 2015. In London alone 8,108 people slept rough during 2016/17, more than double the figure of 3,673 in 2009/10.

Crisis at Christmas is a unique volunteer effort that provides immediate help for homeless people at a critical time of year. It is only made possible through the collective effort and generosity of thousands of volunteers, individuals, community organisations and companies who donate money, time, skills, goods and services.

This year guests will be welcomed at over 13 centres across Britain and offered food, clothing, health services and a chance to relax. In 2016, Crisis welcomed 4,706 guests across London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Coventry and Newcastle, supported by more than 10,859 volunteers. 

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