Over 200 delegates from across the UK gathered for the annual Black & White Hospitality conference.
Held at the firm's North Somerset HQ at Cadbury House in Congresbury, franchisees, general managers, managers, hotel owners and investors heard from the fast-expanding firm's team of hospitality experts, while Marco Pierre White undertook a Q&A session in the afternoon.
Nick Taplin, Chairman and CEO opened proceedings by outlining the current state of play in the sector. But despite news on a number of high-street closures, the energetic entrepreneur remained upbeat on the firm's position and future prospects and follows the opening of nine new venues in the UK and two in Abu Dhabi.
Speaking passionately, he outlined plans for the firm's continued expansion which includes the opening of more restaurants both in the UK and abroad and consolidation of the firm's eight restaurant concepts. He also teased those present with news on a number of brand-new concepts that are in the final stages of development and are set to be launched in the near future!
Following lunch, which consisted of a street food market, delegates listened to motivational speaker Billy Dixon who outlined that anyone wanting to realise their full potential need to place people and relationships at the centre of everything they do.
The afternoon's proceedings then concluded with a Q&A session with Marco Pierre White who spoke at length about his culinary journey which began in his beloved Yorkshire and how he became the first British chef and youngest ever to attain three Michelin stars.
The renowned restauranteur then answered a series of questions from delegates who were intrigued to find out more on his food philosophy, thoughts on the restaurant sector and where he sees the industry going over the coming years.
In the evening delegates were then treated to a three-course celebration dinner that was prepared and cooked by the great Pierre Koffmann who mentored Pierre White in his younger days. The day was then capped off with an awards ceremony where restaurant teams and individuals from across the Black and White group were recognised for outstanding performances in what is regarded as being tough trading conditions.
Nick said: "It's been an incredible journey and was fantastic to see so many people from across the group. With passion, commitment and consistency, it proves that success is out there, and we'll work harder and more closely with our franchise partners to make sure they too have a successful year.
"We've come from very humble beginnings to a business that now has 50 restaurants and eight concepts and with a healthy pipeline of new venues will see us approach the 60 mark in the not too distant future.
"We've also got some exciting news on a new concept which will have a location with a difference and can't wait for this to get off the ground."
The award winners were:
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