Restaurants will now need to pay to be eligible for AA Rosettes

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 3rd February 2020

Restaurants wishing to be included in the AA Restaurant Guide will now have to pay an annual fee of £180 or risk losing their Rosettes.

A letter from the AA shared on Twitter explains the rationale behind the move - namely, to continue its "valuable service" to standalone restaurants.

It reads: "Our Rosette awards have become a symbol of excellence for both the culinary industry and the general public." 

"Our inspectors visit, pay their own bill and provide feedback that results in Rosette plates being posted out and proudly displayed on restaurant walls up and down the country." 

"To help us continue this valuable service, we're introducing an annual fee of £180 (£150 plus VAT) for standalone restaurants." 

In exchange for the fee, the letter goes on, restaurants will receive a website entry on the "brand-new AA-Powered RatedTrips.com site," an image in the guide - which it says is worth £180 - an entry in the annual restaurant guide (and pub guide if applicable), a Rosette plaque, and many more perks, such as a link to update their details on the AA's new restaurant portal. 

The guide was launched 54 years ago and was the UK's first nationwide food guide - as it took Michelin until the seventies to expand across the channel. Its much coveted accolade scheme assesses restaurants on everything from food and service to the overall quality of the dining experiences, offering a maximum of 5 Rosettes to those restaurants considered the best in the country. 

Until recently, the AA's income from its hospitality guides predominantly came from hotels and B&Bs, who paid a fee to be included in the AA Hotel Guide. 

In 1994, it launched specialist consultancy services to help businesses meet their standards, but - ostensibly in a bid to fund a new website and app, which were criticised for being out of date - since then, and with no geographical expansion in sight, the guide had no new streams of revenue on the horizon. 

The new fee is payable by all restaurants wishing to figure in the guide by March 27th 2020 - and, with more than 2,000 listed restaurants, will bring in £360,000 (£300,000 plus VAT). 

In the 2020 Guide 813 restaurants were awarded a single Rosette, 961 have two, 203 have three, 45 have four and just 18 have five. 

In these challenging times…

…the hospitality landscape has dramatically changed in the last two months, and with that our advertising revenues have all but expired, significantly impacting our business. Despite having to furlough a large portion of our staff, we are still delivering the valuable content and honest information, which hundreds of thousands of you come to The Staff Canteen for. We believe we have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs, are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector.

Your financial support means we remain independent and open to all. We were launched by a chef and remain the voice of chefs and other hospitality professionals.

We need your support to keep delivering the products and content that you love, giving you the platform to share opinions and inspiration. Every contribution whether big or small, means so much.
Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 3rd February 2020

Restaurants will now need to pay to be eligible for AA Rosettes