Kerridge: how to win a gastropub gong

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Tom sets out his top tips for winning a gastropub award
Tom sets out his top tips for winning a gastropub award

Related tags: Maida vale

Two Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, of the Hand & Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, has revealed his top tips for winning at next year’s Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards.

Kerridge, who retired from the list after topping it in 2012, 2013 and 2014, will host the awards at the Hermitage Road Bar and Restaurant, Hertfordshire, for the second year in a row on 25 January 2016.

Before the list is revealed at an exclusive lunch, the winners of the three awards open for entry to any pub will be announced. The categories are: Business Innovation of the Year, Front of House Manager of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.

To help entrants, Kerridge has outlined what he believes the judges will be looking for when choosing this year’s winners.

‘Breaks the norm’

Tom Kerridge:

Whether it is food-based, like growing your own vegetables, brewing your own beer or creating speciality drinks, it’s anything that gives you a unique selling point that will bring in customers

  • Source: ​Award's host

Winner of the Business Innovation of the Year Award is likely to have had an idea that “breaks the norm” and encourages business growth, he said.

“Whether it is food-based, like growing your own vegetables, brewing your own beer or creating speciality drinks, it’s anything that gives you a unique selling point that will bring in customers.”

A great front-of-house manager, Kerridge added, will have excellent structural and organisational skills that work hand-in-hand to meet customers’ needs and satisfaction.

“The customers should feel incredibly important and the front-of-house manager should also be able to communicate with all of the back-of-house team to ensure a smooth-running operation.”

Finally, winner of the Best Newcomer of the Year Award will be running a pub that’s bringing something really different to the trade, he said. “The award is aimed at someone who has arrived on the scene with a fresh approach — whose business is being driven forward — and is making people sit up and take note.”

Andrew Fishwick
Andrew Fishwick won Best Newcomer 2015

Winners of the awards also make themselves known to the rest of the industry, putting them in a much better place to make it on to the Top 50 list, said Publican’s Morning Advertiser’s​ editor Ed Bedington.

‘Ambition of many top chefs’

“Getting on to the list is the ambition of many top chefs, and entering the awards that run alongside the list is a great way of getting recognition.”

Andrew Fishwick, who won Newcomer this year for his Maida Vale, London, pub the Truscott Arms, said the award had had a remarkable impact on the business.

For more information about the Top 50 Gastropubs list and on how to enter the three awards categories open to entry, visit www.top50gastropubs.co.uk​.

The Top 50 Gastropubs 2016 list and awards are sponsored by Estrella Damm and associate sponsors include Appletiser and Schweppes and Berkmann Wine Cellars.

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