The multiple operator wowed the judges with its creativity, innovation, and passion for food.
Hippo used lockdown to undergo an ambitious staff engagement program throughout the year, enhancing welfare and helping staff during an uncertain year beyond just pub restrictions.
Staff returned to work with spec books to boost consistency and cook offs and specials to drive ownership and engagement.
The past year has seen them undergo a rebrand across all 13 pubs in London, unifying menus with a strong identity. There isn’t much that Hippo hasn’t turned its hand to this year, launching home delivery, pizza trucks and creative seasonal campaigns.
They have kept their vision for sustainability and seasonal food, despite multiple closures and reopenings in the last year. Sustainability and planet-friendly cooking is at the centre of their food offer, even turning waste produce into bar snacks. Great food like-for-like sales increases have shown that food is central to their offer and guests have responded well to their new initiatives.
Hippo has shown itself to be incredibly flexible this year and quick to introduce new ideas, seen through to realisation. This has been highlighted through successful launching of delivery (Hippo at home), mobile pizza trucks “Another One Bites the Crust”, roasts and burger kits, and picnic hampers (Hippo on the Hoof).
The past year has seen them undertake a big drive to increase spend per head. They achieved this though a plethora of activations (5pm nibbles), discounts (20% NHS discount, lockdown birthday offers), new occasions (meeting rooms), new set menu pricing and staff training (“Chef Passport” training plan).
Ed Bedington, editor of The Morning Advertiser, which organises the awards, said: “This year’s event has certainly been different, going from a gathering of 1,500 in Battersea to an online ceremony in the virtual world, but the ethos remains the same – celebrating excellence and there’s plenty to celebrate.
“Many companies, having faced the challenges and disasters of 2020 could be forgiven for pulling down the shutters and sitting the crisis out. Our finalists tonight, and many others in the sector, did the exact opposite of that, rose to the challenge and did some amazing things.
“We wanted to continue with the awards this year to recognise those businesses that made sacrifices and strove to not just keep going, but to improve and thrive in the teeth of a brutal storm.
“Here’s to next year when companies can get back to doing what they do best, providing outstanding hospitality experiences for their guests.”
- Check out the full list of winners from the 2021 Publican Awards here