Top 50 Gastropubs 2016

How to win a Top 50 Gastropubs Award

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

One of this year's award winners transformed two vans to boost sales
One of this year's award winners transformed two vans to boost sales

Related tags: 2015

The Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs 2016 is fast approaching and so is the opportunity to win one of three awards up for grabs at the event in January. Here are our top tips on how to gain one.

The three awards up for grabs are open to any food-serving pub and include: Newcomer of the Year, Business Innovation of the Year and Front of House Manager of the Year.

Truscott Arms_Andrew & MJ Fishwick
Truscott Arms owners Andrew Fishwick and Mary Jane

This year’s winner of the Newcomer of the Year Award was the Truscott Arms, Maida Vale, owner Andrew Fishwick, who also placed tenth on the Top 50 list.

Fishwick and his wife Mary Jane, who now also own the Truscott Cellars in Belsize Park, reopened the Truscott Arms in March 2013 and quickly set about renovating areas of the then dilapidated pub.

He said: “Being named the Best Newcomer of the Year, Highest New Entry and 10th​ overall at the Top 50 Gastropubs Awards 2015 was a truly extraordinary experience. It has had a remarkable impact on our business.”

Two Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge of the Hand & Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, will be hosting the awards.

He said: "I think the best newcomer award is aimed for someone who has arrived on the scene with a fresh approach, whose business is driving forward and is making people sit up and take note of their business."

Enter Best Newcomer if:

  • You’ve been open for 18 months or fewer
  • You serve great food and there’s a great atmosphere
  • You’re proud of the journey you’ve taken so far
  • Your pub makes you proud

This year’s winner of the Business Innovation of the Year Award was William and Emma Jack who own the Richmond Arms, West Ashling, West Sussex.

The duo, who purchased their pub in 2011, managed to build a steady trade in the site’s 40-cover dining area; however, the limited space for walk-ins was frustrating for them.

To combat the space shortage, William and Emma invested in an old Citroen H Van, from which they cooked wood-fired pizzas.

Award winner

The local press picked up that we had won the Business Innovation of the Year Award and that helped to raise our profile, which is good because we’re in the middle of nowhere

  • Source: ​Mr Jack

More innovation followed when the pair bought a Morris J van to serve soft drinks and snacks during the day and a set menu of a starter, one main and a dessert in the evenings.

William said: “The local press picked up that we had won the Business Innovation of the Year Award and that helped to raise our profile, which is good because we’re in the middle of nowhere.”

Kerridge said: "An innovative idea for a pub is anything that breaks the norm and encourages growth using your own personality or ideas to drive the business forward."

Enter the Business Innovation category if:

  • You’ve boosted trade through implementing a new idea
  • There’s something special you’re doing that no one else is
  • Margins and revenue have increased because you’re doing something different

Don’t forget front-of-house staff are some of the most important people within your business who also deserve recognition for the hard work they do.

Mo Gherras, formerly of the Royal Oak, Paley Street, Berkshire, won the Front of House Manager of the Year award this year.

The manager played an instrumental role in the Royal Oak – which came seventh on the Top 50 list – achieving a Michelin star, three AA Rosettes and a six out of 10 rating in the Good Food Guide.

1955 Morris J van is used by Richmond Arms to boost sales

When Gherras started at the pub, there was a front-of-house team of just three people and now there are 12.

Royal Oak general manager Richard Martinez said: “Winning or even being shortlisted for any award is an amazing thing, but winning the Front of House Manager of the Year Award 2015 was a real mark of approval.

“We are always extremely happy to win awards. They are recognition of the hard work we do. It’s also great for the staff who feel more engaged with the company.”

Kerridge said: "Front of House Manager is first and foremost someone whose structure and organisational skills work hand in hand with customer needs and satisfaction, allowing the customers to feel incredibly important whilst being able to communicate with all of the back-of-house team to ensure a smooth-running operation."

Winning front-of-house managers are:

  • Vital to the success of their pub’s business
  • Inspirational to other staff
  • Always delivering excellent customer service
  • Seeking to go above and beyond what is expected of them to make diners happy

For more information about the Top 50 Gastropubs Awards and for an entry form for the three categories open to entry visit www.top50gastropubs.co.uk

The closing date for entries is Wednesday, 23 October, 2015. The awards will be announced at a lunch at Hermitage Road Bar and Restaurant, Hertfordshire on 25 January 2016 by Kerridge.

Top 50 Gastropubs 2016 is sponsored by Estrella Damm and associated partners include Appletiser and Schweppes and Berkmann Wine Cellars.

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