Waitrose buys The Good Food Guide!
Waitrose has insisted the independence of The Good Food Guide will not be compromised – despite its connections to Heston Blumenthal – after the upmarket supermarket retailer bought the biggest guide to restaurants in Britain.
Mark Price, managing director of Waitrose, said:
“Sales of fresh food, champagne, and party food particularly accelerated over Christmas for the company”.
Waitrose has paid an undisclosed amount to acquire The Good Food Guide in an attempt to boost the credentials of its food.
The Good Food Guide has been snapped up from Which?, the consumer affairs group.The annual guidebook was first published in 1951 and uses volunteers to secretly review restaurants.
It was created Raymond Postgate, a novelist, historian and food expert who was frustrated by the standards of cooking in Britain and believed anonymous and impartial reviews were a way of boosting the quality of restaurants.
Mr Postgate put together a team of volunteers to conduct the reviews, famously declaring their impartiality by stating:
“You can corrupt one man. You can’t bribe an army.”
However, the deal with Waitrose risks damaging that reputation for impartiality because of the supermarket group’s links with Mr Blumenthal.
A range of food developed by Mr Blumenthal is sold at Waitrose under the name “Heston from Waitrose”, while in the latest edition of The Good Food Guide, Mr Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck was the top ranked restaurant.
However, Waitrose insisted that none of the chefs the company works with will get “any special treatment”.
A spokesperson for the company said:
“The reputation of The Good Food Guide depends on its independence. We intend to work with the same knowledgeable inspectors who have helped earn the Guide its respect and they will be assessing every restaurant to their exacting standards. None of the chefs with whom we work will get any special treatment.”
Elizabeth Carter, the consultant editor of the guide, said it will“maintain its reputation as the country’s foremost independent restaurant guide”.
“We will be offering the same high calibre, knowledgeable restaurant reviews which have helped the Guide become the respected publication it is today. Joining the Waitrose family marks a new chapter in its prestigious history.”
The next edition of the guide will be published in the autumn and will continue to be sold across the country.
Rupert Thomas, the marketing director of Waitrose, said the retailer, which is part of the John Lewis Partnership, had struck the deal as part of establishing itself as an expert in quality food.
“We aim to be the go to shop for food lovers, and becoming the publisher of this well-loved guide will continue to develop our brand as an authority on good food. “The Good Food Guide has a loyal following among our customers and we will continue to operate it as an independent authority on eating out within the UK.”