Publican Awards 2024 Best Pub Brand/Concept winner, sponsored by Moët Hennessey: Hickory’s

By The Morning Advertiser

- Last updated on GMT

Publican Awards 2024 Best Pub Brand/Concept winner

Related tags Publican awards Events Multi-site pub operators Pubco + head office Branding + marketing

This year’s winner of the Publican Awards Best Pub Brand/Concept category demonstrated originality, business success, clear strategies and a passion for people.

A deserved winner, Hickory’s is a unique smokehouse brand offering a Southern American dining experience with a varied range of authentic food and drink options. 

With strong customer satisfaction levels and sales, the firm, which is owned by Greene King, maximises different dayparts and occasions with a variety of formats for different needs.

Each venue, which is easily identifiable from the outside thanks to consistent and unique styling, offers bar-dinning, a cinema room for children, cosy verandas and quitter areas for those looking for a more intimate experience.

In addition, the brand has also seen impressive growth with its regular live screenings of American sporting events and live music.

Opening pipeline

Hickory’s Super Bowl event, for example, saw 5,000 tickets sold this year, providing a 35% uplift against the average Sunday, compared with 30 tickets for its Super Bowl event debut 15 years ago.

The Chester-based brand, which operates more than 15 sites and was founded in 2010, also stands in good stead for the future, with an ambitious, clear and concise growth plan, which judges were particularly impressed.

Hickory's currently has six new openings planned for this year and anticipates opening 10 more in 2025 around the North and Midlands areas.

Learning and development was another strong area for the brand, which organises annual L&D trips for its team members from across the business to Southern American states to bolster the authenticity of its offering and fight off competition.

Other recent investments across the brand include top-quality smokers in its kitchens and in its outdoor areas, including all-weather dining and play areas.

Community heart

The brand is also focused on embedding itself in the local community to be the go-to place in that area, with managers consistently interacting with the community and supporting local causes.

In addition, managers will visit local businesses and residents ahead of any new opening to establish connections.

Another initiative judges were impressed by was with the brand’s central reservation system, which is handled by a small team based at its headquarters to avoid phones ringing in venues and disturbing service.

Sticking with branding, Hickory’s also produces its own sauces and condiments, which guests can purchase and take home with them.

Overall, the panel was impressed by how much the brand genuinely cares about people, its passion for hospitality and the way it pushes boundaries to get results and stand out as a unique brand/concept.

Related topics Events & Occasions

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