Stretching boundaries at Cheshire Cat Pubs and Bars
Husband and wife team Tim Bird and Mary McLaughlin founded Cheshire Cat Pubs and Bars back 2008 and now the company operates seven pubs.
The business, which prides itself on restoring beautiful pubs that many would consider to be lost causes, won Best Drinks Offer at the 2016 Publican Awards and took home Best Food Offer in 2017.
Bird said: “The Publican Awards will always be the industry’s top awards event. When you’ve worked tirelessly to make a key part of your business the best you can, to have it recognised at a ceremony as special as the Publican Awards is frankly overwhelming.
“Winning the food award a year after winning Best Drinks Offer was the proudest moment for our teams and for us. Nothing beats that sense of achievement!”
Calling all entrants
The 2018 Publican Awards are now open for entry and this year we’re doing it all online. To enter your company into one or more of the 17 categories available, visit www.publicanawards.co.uk and click on the option to enter. Time is of the essence as the awards deadline closes on 10 November. Good luck to all who enter.
For further information, contact Rachel Ward on 01293 610394 or email her on email@example.com
Fellow director and co-founder Mary McLaughlin told The Morning Advertiser: “Winning means a lot not just to myself and Tim, but all of our team and our chefs.
“Day in, day out they are developing new menus and stretching the boundaries in what we do with food and delighting our customers. Winning is so important and so special for us.”
Tavistock Hospitality's forward-thinking take on food
Tavistock Hospitality’s five Sonnet 43 sites, which are situated across the north east of England and focus on high value ‘soul food’, won the judges’ attention for their forward-thinking take good quality, low-cost cooking.
The passionate team behind the menus, which include dishes like Mediterranean-style small plates and hanging kebabs, take inspiration from up-to-date food trends, and ensure the need to keep costs low does not affect taste and quality.
Of winning the Best Value Food Offer category this year, operations director Jonathan Graham said: “It was tremendous to receive this kind of recognition. It has really helped demonstrate that our offering, as an independently-owned, regional multi-site operator, can stand up to the big nationals in terms of value, which given our smaller scale is no mean feat to achieve. It is a point of pride that we are able to give our customers great value for their money as well as a quality food and drink offering. To have this publicly acknowledged by such a well-respected and widely known industry publication has without doubt given us a competitive advantage.”
Sonnet 43 pubs are clearly branded and, although they share a common identity, they don’t feel ‘rolled-out’ – efforts are made to play to each property’s individual strengths and maximise each space’s potential.
Stylish and intelligent food from Bel & The Dragon
Seven-strong food pub chain Be
l & The Dragon wowed this year’s Publican Awards judges with the consistently high standard of food served across its sites in southern England, winning them Best Premium Food Offer.
Twists on pub classics including roasted suckling pig, seared Lyme Bay scallops, Cornish lemon sole and duck shepherd’s pie maintained the honesty of pub cooking, while proving stylish and intelligent enough to propel it to high-end restaurant standard.
Of the category win, which was sponsored by McCain, pubco COO Hector Ross said: “We are honoured to have won the Premium Food Offer category. The recognition underscores the hard work of all our employees and our commitment to supporting local, artisan producers to bring the very best ingredients to our menus.”
Menus across the pubco’s sites are the same, however they do change monthly and centre around seasonality.
Judge and Restaurant magazine editor Stefan Chomka said: “The company’s dedication to creating a menu that has something for everyone but which eschews the obvious pub staples is commendable, as is the exceptional value for money it offers.”
Stonegate's winning formula
Stonegate Pub Company, the managed operator with about 700 pubs in its estate, stood out at this year’s awards for its continually evolving people-led culture and its ability to operate numerous different and successful concepts across town and city centres. It won both the Best Managed Pub Company (51+ sites) and Best Late Night Operator.
Stonegate chief executive Simon Longbottom said of the company’s involvement in the awards: “Being recognised by our peers as the Best Managed house was a great honour and testament to all the people who work within Stonegate.
“Our success is driven through investment in our people through our award-winning training programme; investment in our properties ensuring we have smart, well looked after and well-run businesses that customers return to time and again; and investment within the communities in which we operate.
“This is a winning formula of which we are immensely proud.
“To also stand out as the Best Late Night Operator highlights our talented team who work behind the scenes, whose knowledge of the late-night market is unrivalled and whose ability to entertain our customers is second to none.
“We delight in adding the Publican Awards to our cache of trophies. It’s great for business, for team morale and enables us to attract the best people to our home of winners.”