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Great British Pub Award winners reap rewards

By Nikkie Sutton , 20-May-2016
Last updated on 31-May-2016 at 11:46 GMT2016-05-31T11:46:43Z

Great British Pub Award winners reap rewards

The Great British Pub Awards brings together some of the best in the sector and rewards those representing the highest possible standards. Nikkie Sutton talks to some of last year’s winners

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BEST NEWCOMER, THE OLD VOLUNTEER, MAGGIE DUNKIN, PUNCH

Carlton pub The Old Volunteer took home the Best Newcomer award and described the win as “unbelievable”.

Maggie Dunkin, Operations Manager of the Nottingham based pub believes that turnover and sales have increased following their achievement.

She said: “I would say to anyone, just go for it as we are just so immensely proud.”

How has the Punch-owned pub marketed their achievement? “We have made sure it is on the bottom of everybody’s email and keep putting in on Facebook.

“We have still got the banner outside saying we are ‘Best Newcomer’.”

The 62 year old puts a lot of their success down to the team: “We couldn’t have done it without the staff.

“We took them out for a big, slap up meal as a thank you and they were all over the moon about winning and I do keep telling them they are appreciated.”

The plaque of honour has pride of place on a pillar inside The Old Volunteer’s bar, shining in a prominent place so all who walk in can’t miss it.

Maggie thinks that the whole win gives a huge morale boost to everyone but the staff and licensee aren’t the only ones who are happy about the triumph.

She added: “There was quite a party atmosphere when we came back from the award ceremony and there were a lot of people in that night because they knew we were coming back”

On the night of the awards, Maggie recalled how it felt to be there as she remembered that there were lots of really good businesses in attendance and said:

 “The entrants got called out and then the winner got announced.

“The whole table leapt up and I can’t remember going onto the stage it was absolutely unbelievable and I am so proud of what we have done and what the staff have done.”

BEST SPORTS PUB, THE GARDENERS ARMS/THE MURDERERS, PHILIP CUTTER

Philip Cutter has been at The Gardeners Arms/the Murderers for the last 29 years and after being in the regionals for the Great British Pub Awards, won Best Sports Pub last year.

“We work really hard at the pub anyway to put on the best that we can for our customers and turnover is up by 8% which is fantastic!

The Norwich-based pub prides itself on sport: “We show anything.

“We had people in watching speed way and we had girls in from the netball team for a good couple of hours.”

Philip admitted that straight after award ceremony, the 45-year-old and his son tweeted and sent Facebook messages out as soon as they got back to the hotel room.

The licensee couldn’t have been more thrilled to take home the award: “It has been described as the pub Oscars and it is an honour to have won.”

But, he didn’t take all the glory for himself: “It really was an award for the whole team.”

He added that it is nice when a customer congratulates him: “It is nice to be recognised for all the hard work you put in.”

The pub is the last family-owned free house in the city centre.

Cutter started work at The Gardeners Arms at the tender age of just 15 after moving to the area when he was 10.

His advice to run a successful pub is that you can’t focus on just one aspect: “I think it all boils down to the fact that we don’t just do sports, we do real ales too.”

Philip suggests that to achieve the best results, you have to work on your business all the time.

BEST FAMILY PUB, JOLLY SAILORS, HEATHER TIDD

The independent and family-owned Jolly Sailors in Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk won the Best Family Pub category last year.

Heather Tidd, General Manager of the pub said: “We were all over the moon and it was the icing on the cake because we had been in the final for the last three years.”

This traditional pub has published their victory is on their website and they have promoted it on social media: “We have a PR lady so we had things in the paper from the press releases she sent.

“We have also got the award printed on our menus and we have got it up behind the bar with the certificate.”

Brancaster born Heather has been at The Jolly Sailors for the last eight years but this coming one will be her last as she plans to retire in 2017.

Heather admitted that winning has had an impact on trade at the pub: “It has been constant over the years but last year was our best.

“We got over our target so I do think that was to do with winning our award and we have seen an increase in trade and other people have said ‘congratulations’.

“So far this year we are really quite busy, especially at weekends and bank holidays and the customers keep saying ‘well done’.”

According to Heather, winning the award hasn’t just affected the pub itself but the village too: “When someone wins something, it entices people to the area.”

The Jolly Sailors also have future plans for install a new bar in the garden. Heather explained that currently, they only have a small bar so a newer, bigger one will mean there is less congestion.

So, why should other pubs enter the awards? “It was just really nice for all the staff,” she explained.

“They all put so much into it and work so hard.”

BEST WINE BAR/PUB, THE CHEQUERS INN, ANTONY PRATT

Traditional pub, The Chequers Inn, based in Bilton-in-Ainsty, North Yorkshire succeeded in winning the Best Wine Bar/Pub category.

Following the victory, owner and multi operator Antony Pratt said: “Footfall has increased, revenue is up and winning gives a boost to staff. “

The 33-year-old also explained that due to this increase in sales, they have been able to invest more money into training for his team of 14.

He felt that customers were now more willing to experiment with their wine choice and this was down to the win: “They have more confidence to try wine and the recommendations they are given by the team are valued.”

Last year, the licensee had decided to “do a big push on wine” and he was pleased that by winning the award, it paid off.

Antonytook the Chequers over in 2012 after living in the village of Bilton-in-Ainsty for three years: “It was my local pub but it was under a TAW (tenancy-at-will) and was quite run down before.”

He believes that the industry itself is particularly labour-intensive and that the award shows recognition for the whole team as well as it being a good morale boost for the team.

The owner also runs three other sites and explained that winning the award has not just increased trade at the Chequers but it has had a good effect across the other sites too.

Following on from winning, the victory was used on the Chequers promotion material and on their social media: “As a result, we have had a number of media opportunities and have been on local radio about the award.”

What was the best thing about winning the award? “The level of recognition it gives to companies is good.

“It highlights the achievement and hard work you put in.”

Antony is also planning to complete some redevelopment work at the pub in the future following on from the win.

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