Publican Awards 2022

Meet the finalists: Best Premium Food Offer sponsored by Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I

By The Morning Advertiser

- Last updated on GMT

Publican Awards 2022 finalists in Best Premium Food Offer

Related tags: Events, Publican awards, Food

The 2022 winner of the Best Premium Food offer will have impressed judges with a high-quality menu in a business that delivers a successful food offer across its estate.

Liberation Group

Liberation Group, whose business includes 57 managed pubs and inns in England and the Channel Islands, has reaped the rewards of its strong food strategies which have enabled it to weather the storm caused by 2021 restrictions and trade confidently with its food offers in the past year.

The enticing menus across the company’ pubs and inns are overseen by talented group executive chef Alice Bowyer and focus on good value, innovative and exceeding expectation dishes. Menus, which have a strong field to fork ethos, have served up impressive food sales growth, strong food margin improvements and an excellent increase in average customer spend per head in the past year.

Impressive innovation has also help drive Liberation Group’s impressive food performance too, including from impactful outside food offers and a new chophouse style food offer, centred around a Robata grill at the Whitmore Tap in Bristol.

Impactful marketing, great training, including around mental health, and a strong focus on team flexibility and well-being has also underpinned the company’s success with food in the past year, which in turn has also helped drive accommodation and wet sales further too.

Its food achievements in the past year are all the more impressive given the company was integrating 21 new pubs and 1,000 new team members following its acquisition of Wadworth.

Anglian Country Inns

This family run and family feel company still continues after 25 years to keep driving the business forward, with impressive food sales growth, menu innovation and team development in the past year.

Its diverse range of food offers, from a la carte venison and seafood specials, to bagels and pizzas are more confident and focused than ever before, with menus full of quality dishes, crafted from sustainable ingredients and fresh ideas.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic ACI, which has a three-star Sustainable Restaurant Association rating, continues with its decentralised menu approach across its eight sites in Hertfordshire and Norfolk, with its talented team of highly skilled chefs, led by creative head of food Kumour Uddin, delivering quality, bespoke menus at each venue.

There is excellent provenance, attention to detail and stories behind dishes, with many of its excellent, long-standing suppliers counted as friends and these strong relationships, along with the strong skills it has in the kitchen, such as butchery, has enabled it to achieve better food margins during this challenging climate.

An impressive range of outside food offers, including a marshside container bar at the White Horse in Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk, serving up delicious fresh seafood, also helped drive the company’s strong food performance in the past year.

With the excellent work ACI has done in 2021, it is well-positioned for future growth and innovation in 2022.

Peach Pubs

“Serving Up The Good Stuff’ is one of Peach’s principles and its seasonally changing menus, celebrating produce from farmers, fisherman and producers who share its sustainable, quality ethics have served up good food sales growth in the past year.

With a focus on more premium dishes and specials it has also delivered great results in driving up average customer spend too.

The challenges of the pandemic saw a refocusing of Peach’s food strategy, moving to centrally controlled menus which are complimented by exciting chef specials, a change which has been embraced by its chefs who are proud to cook dishes overseen by head of food development Clive Dixon (a Michelin-starred chef whose CV includes working for Heston and Koffman), whilst enjoying the opportunity to still be creative with wow factor specials.

An enticing range of seasonal specials, such as Dover Sole, game and beef Wellington dishes, as well as an interesting range of pub-driven events, also help keep things exciting for customers.

It has enjoyed particular success with its tasty veggie and vegan dishes, which now account for 46% of sales.

The positive culture Peach has created for team members across its 20 sites has also seen it enjoy great team retention and strong internal progression in the past year.

Its continuing focus and improvements around sustainability is also impressive, and in the past year the company achieved a three-star Sustainable Restaurant Association rating.

Oakman Group

Despite the continuing challenges of pandemic Oakman Group has continued to grow and thrive in the past year, delivering healthy growth, including strong like for like food sales increases, a new refinancing deal and a strongest ever pipeline of new sites.

The 36-site company now has two ‘brands’, Oakman Inns and Seafood Pubs, following the acquisition of six Seafood sites out of administration, and it has taken the best from both businesses to further improve the quality of its food and service.

Oakman Inns’ sites offer an imaginative Mediterranean and modern British food menu crafted from carefully sourced quality ingredients, including from regional and local suppliers, and its impressive focus on elevating its Neopolitan pizza offer is also reaping great results.

Its Seafood Pubs’ menus again focus on quality, regional produce and blend hearty British classics and seafood dishes from sustainable sources which are complimented by its excellent seafood specials, which account for a significant share of food sales.

Oakman Group is also aiming to mitigate our industry’s employment challenges, by establishing the Oakman Chef Academy, based at its biggest site to date The Woburn, in Bedfordshire, which is run by passionate chef director Ross Pike. The academy gives industry newcomers the opportunity to retrain in a new career with a guaranteed job at the end of the course.

It has also delivered great sustainability initiatives, including a ‘Tree Nation’ project where to help offset  teams’ and guests’ daily CO2 emissions, the group is planting trees in Madagascar and Tanzania for every hot drink sold, with the aim of planting a million trees a year.

The company has also successfully launched a makeaway burger brand called Rare.

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