There will be no World's Best Restaurant this year; awards postponed amid coronavirus outbreak

The awards ceremony, scheduled for June 2, in Antwerp, Belgium, will be postponed until next year and the votes for world's best restaurant, although already completed, will not be announced, even online.
The awards ceremony, scheduled for June 2, in Antwerp, Belgium, will be postponed until next year and the votes for world's best restaurant, although already completed, will not be announced, even online.PHOTO: THEWORLDS50BEST / INSTAGRAM

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - On Monday (March 30), the World's 50 Best Restaurants awards entirely abandoned its plans for rankings for 2020, and pledged instead to focus on efforts to help the hospitality industry to face the challenge of coronavirus.

The awards ceremony, scheduled for June 2, in Antwerp, Belgium, will be postponed until next year and the votes for world's best restaurant, although already completed, will not be announced, even online.

"It was a difficult decision but it doesn't seem the right time when the hospitality and restaurant sectors are suffering," said organizer Will Drew, director of content for The World's 50 Best Restaurants organisation, by phone.

"We still want to bring the leaders of the world of gastronomy together in a virtual world in order to help each other and exchange ideas and find ways to help each other. We'll be working to try and see what we can do, how we can connect people and how we can use our global audience to assist and put restaurants in a better place to recover.

"Undoubtedly, there will be casualties. It is a tight-margin business and this is a brutal and unprecedented situation. The restaurant world will change forever. We want to be a positive force."

The London-based organisation faced some criticism in social media last week when it proceeded to publish the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants rankings.

Drew said those went ahead because it was what the chefs wanted, whereas it was a different situation for the global industry.

The World's 50 Best Restaurants list is organised and compiled by William Reed Business Media. It is created from the votes of 1,040 restaurateurs, chefs, food writers, and foodies.

The awards started in 2002 as a feature in Restaurant, a UK publication, based on the picks of journalists and chefs.