Trade great for finalists in BIH Spotlight Awards

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Awards finalists: the White Horse's Tosh Lakhnai (centre) and Sunny Hodge (right) of Diogenes The Dog
Awards finalists: the White Horse's Tosh Lakhnai (centre) and Sunny Hodge (right) of Diogenes The Dog

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Two of the finalists for Pub/Bar of the Year in the Be Inclusive Hospitality (BIH) Spotlight Awards have revealed how trade at their sites has improved so much since the pandemic.

The BIH Spotlight Awards, which will take place at M, Threadneedle Street, London, on Monday 16 October, are organised by the not-for-profit organisation and are designed to shine a light on exceptional businesses and individuals from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds in hospitality.

In the Pub/Bar of the Year category are Diogenes the Dog, London; the White Horse Buckover, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire; the Village People, London; and Trailer Happiness, London.

Sunny Hodge, founder of Diogenes The Dog said: “Trade has gone from strength to strength despite some of the worst trading conditions I've ever seen.

“We've manoeuvred and changed at every step of the way to make it though and the team has always understood this vision and been an integral part in achieving our vision.

“It's been tough, but this industry always has been, and will most probably continue to do so. We're all in it for the love, despite the pressures.”

Lucy Do of the Dodo Micropub won the Pub/Bar of the Year award last year

Better than ever

Tosh Lakhani, CEO of the White Horse added: “After lockdown, trade was difficult, like for so many other businesses. While we were closed, we donated 3,000 meals over three months for a Bristol-based charity that houses homeless children.

“We’re glad to report that now, despite the recruitment issues, business has been better than ever before. We’re very grateful to all our loyal customers and it shows, if you work hard, no matter the cuisine, you can be successful.”

On making the final of the awards, both Hodge and Lakhani expressed their delight.

Hodge said: “[I’m] utterly thrilled to be in the final line-up, after five years of work to change an industry (wine) that's pretty set in its ways, [it’s] really wonderful to receive recognition here.

“In an industry where diversity is renowned to be quite weak, it's brilliant to shine a light on a candidate in wine. [This is] incredibly important for the bigger picture.”

Big movement

Lakhani added: “We are very proud to have been selected as a finalist from so many entries.

“These awards highlight a big movement in this amazing industry. It has brought so many more faces and cultures to the hospitality scene. Our country is full of diversity and these awards are helping highlight that.

“It’s so great that BIH are creating this platform and bringing this subject to the table as ethnic community are becoming a bigger party of the hospitality industry. We hope other awards take a leaf out of BIH’s book.”

Last year, the Dodo Micropub operated by Lucy Do was the winner in the Pub/Bar of the Year category​.

She said after winning: “I think we won because the wonderful people of the Hanwell ‘massive’, which is the community here. They have got behind the pub so enthusiastically and I know several of them put their 10 pence worth in on the nominations front. It gives us the edge to build on something that people want to be part of – which is great.”

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