Purpose of Visit: General assessments during the pandemic.
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5/ 5



Both 2020 and 2021 have been chaotic years for the Hotels and Restaurant Industries. Not much positive can be reported


It has been repiorted that over 15% of restaurants shall not be opening for business due to the COVID-19 restrictions and protocols which came into effect from the 17th of January, 2022.

Bottom Line

2020 and 20212 the chaotic years of the COVID-19 pandemic which hit the world, and the Hotels and Restaurants Industries in Malta and Gozo like a tsunami.

Posted January 25, 2022 by

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WRMC 2022 –  Another missed event.


Monday,  24th January, 2022, being the third Monday of January, under normal circumstances was going to be once again, the WRMC Restaurant Awards day, in which event we had welcomed over three hundred guests from the top restaurants and  hotels in Malta and Gozo,  year-in-year-out. This was supposed to be the 10th Anniversary of this highly sought after and awaited event.


The event of January, 2021 had to be missed as a result of the first year chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which hit the industry like a tsunami from March 2020.

2021 has been the year of the COVID Variants, mostly named by letters from the Greek alphabet, with no less than four or five variants from this list, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, the famous Delta, the very fast moving Omicron, and others which had been classified by their geographic name viz: the African, Brazilian, English variants etc.

These evolutions have continually contributed to the chaos and hardship faced by the hotels and restaurants industry, with lockdowns, seating restrictions, and now the requirement for COVID certification before clients are allowed to enter and be served in these establishments.

We know that various restaurants closed down for good after the first lockdown of 2020, with further restaurants changing ownership and/or management during 2021. It has been reported by the Industry’s representatives, that over fifteen per cent of surviving restaurants decided not to open after the further restrictions of the 17th of January, 2022, came into force. Coupled with the very serious shortage of staff in all departments of the industry, the Hotels and Restaurants Industry is in a very serious quandary of bankruptcy, unless very judicious decisions are taken by the Health Authorities to safeguard both the industry and the general public.

The absolute, lack of tourism business has further castigated and pummeled the industry, causing many establishments which were opened to serve this market to call it a day.


Pre- 2020, our yearly voyage towards the WRMC Restaurant Awards and Ceremony which was held annually at the Hilton Malta, necessitated, every year, visits, dining, reviewing and assessments of something around one-hundred and twenty restaurants in Malta and Gozo, from which about sixty-five restaurants were short-listed and categorized in various genres, such as:

Fine Dining; Upscale Casual Dining Restaurants; Special Concept Restaurants and Ethnic Restaurants, which are awarded categorized awards commensurate with their standing:

  • The Silver Spoon Award; Blue Riband Award and the Special Concept Award.
  • Special awards such as the revolutionary Les Dames Culinaires Gold and Silver Awards which elevated ladies working within the industry (Chefs; Restaurant Managers; Owners; etc) to celebrity status.
  • Top Maltese Chef Award;
  • Top Front of House Award;
  • Best Kitchen and Front-of-House Management Team award;
  • And the highly coveted Lifetime Achievement Award.

All this necessitates a full-time involvement of our assessing team and management as we rely only on our direct assessment visits, as is the practice of the top assessing organizations in the world, some of with whome we have corresponding status, and from where we obtain most relevant advise and information.


During 2020 and 2021 we have reviewed, approximately only forty restaurants in 2020 from March onwards,  due to the two lockdowns, and just seventy-five restaurants in 2021 as a result of continued restrictions and the variants that emerged, in these two hard years. Restrictions, lack of staff, lack of business, continued high overhead expenses, caused certain restaurants to operate at far below their pre-2020 quality and grading, whilst some others defied all odds and kept their standards high, hoping for better times to come soon.


In 2021, the event could not be carried out as the allowed capacity in the Portomaso Suite could only accommodate one hundred guests , fifteen of whom had to be staff. The forced,  lack of restaurant visits and these constraints made the event a non-starter for that year.


Although at the end of 2021 some restrictions were removed, matters were irrevocably aggravated by the new rules coming in force as from the 17th of January, 2022, whereas every person taking part in the event, guests, hotel staff, event management, band, and everyone else associated with it, had to be vaccinated and the vaccination certificates had to be produced and checked before entry to anyone was allowed. This was a highly impractical task to achieve with everyone, (some 300 persons), having to be checked individually, with a possible fine of some E500 for every infringement, which neither us as organizers and managers of the event, and neither the Hilton Malta were ready to face.


These factors as well as the shortage of assessments during these two years, closures, changes in operators, changes of the original genre and style of certain restaurants, precluded us from carrying-out full assessments based on, over one hundred and twenty restaurants, visited each year in previous years, to come to fair quality assessments, and to award and recognize only, highly deserving restaurants.

Another issue was that faced by our sponsors, who are mainly suppliers to the Hotel and Restaurant Industries, who were themselves faced with a huge reduction in orders, as well as some were constrained to operate on a four day-week for their employees, which made sponsorships  impossible.


The WRMC Restaurant Guide as published on the WRMC website https://www.winesandrestaurantsofmalta.com,  is being revised in connection with the current situation. We sincerely hope, that during this year, we shall be able to comply with the wishes of a vast number of restaurateurs who contacted us and urged us to find ways to hold the event. As responsible people, we can assure everyone, that once we are sure of the safety of everyone concerned, and the go ahead without restrictions, is given by the Health Authorities, an event on the scale of pre- pandemic situations shall be held in full force.


We pray, hope and augur that this difficult episode in all our lives shall be eventually over and soon, so we can all carry on with our lives and lifestyles.


Reno Spiteri

WRMC Executive Director



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