The benefits of entering Pub Awards

Ever thought of applying for Pub of the Year? Or what about Restaurant of the Year, Bed & Breakfast Pub of the Year or Dog Friendly Pub of the Year? There are numerous awards that pub operators can put their pub forward for, both on a national and local level.

These awards exist because customers use them to rate different pubs and decide which ones to visit, and because pub operators like you benefit from the accolades a win can bring. 

Get More Customers Through Your Door!

Any business that has won a prestigious award experiences an upturn in trade, and not just on a short term basis but a long term too. Winners and finalists in the Great British Pub awardsreport a big uplift in trade and publicity as a result of their participation in the scheme. 

Customers are keen to visit pubs that have won awards, especially if they are travelling around and looking for places to stay, eat or drink.  Winning an award means that the pub has reached a high standard, and is guaranteed to provide a specific type of service.  Seeing a plaque or a poster indicating that a pub has won an award, immediately tells customers that this is a pub worth visiting.  

Gaining an award helps you stand out from other pubs and restaurants in the area. Tom Kerridge, landlord of the Hand & Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire found he gained national prominence the moment a Michelin inspector awarded him two rosettes, making him the only pub in the country with this award.  It certainly helped provide opportunities for long term business growth, as Kerridge has been able to build on that Michelin award by expanding onto other sites. Other awards have followed, with the Hand & Flowers being named AA Restaurant of the Year and Kerridge’s second pub in Marlow, The Coach, has gained a Michelin star. 

While Michelin stars are not attainable for everyone, there are plenty of other awards that might suit your pub. Dog Friendly Pub of the Year is a good example, as the first question any dog owner will ask is can their dog come in too! Customers actively seek out dog friendly pubs, so winning this award can really make your business stand out.

Great For Publicity

Entering an award often results in your business being promoted across social media, in local newspapers and magazines, and industry publications.  Winning or being nominated as a runner up provides fantastic public relations opportunities as it immediately attracts local media attention. 

Following a win there are more opportunities to promote your pub throughout the year. For example if you’re the lucky winner of Family Pub Of The Year you can reach out to family focused publications and organisations to get more exposure for your business. Why not invite them to review your pub and experience it first hand? A complimentary meal with the right publication could result in a significant spike in business.

Great For Morale

Awards are also good for staff morale. If they’re working hard to deliver a fantastic customer experience, it’s great to have that acknowledged by the judging panel or customer votes. In fact, as well as nominating your pub for local or national awards, how about running your own awards event? Many businesses award their staff for their contribution, and this has a positive effect on staff retention and other HR issues. You could even get your customers involved to give your staff the recognition they deserve.

5 Tips For Winning Pub Awards

Are you ready to enter an award? Here are our top 5 tips for getting shortlisted by the judges and, hopefully, winning a prestigious award:

  1. Be realistic– choose a pub award that your pub has a good chance of winning. This year it might be unrealistic to carry away the overall Pub of the Year Award, instead you might go for something like Newcomer of the Year. Also consider local awards, rather than going for the big national ones, as that narrows down the competition. You can then use this experience to aim for the big prize next year! 

  2. Allow sufficient time– hopefully your pub is already doing everything possible to be an award winning pub. However, there are bound to be a few things you can do to improve and really get the judges’ attention. So identify awards that give you enough time to make any changes and really embed them into your business.

  3. Read the judging criteria carefully– most awards give plenty of detail about what the judges will be looking for. You can also look at previous award winners to find out what the standard is like and why they won that year. With this information you can tailor your application to the award, and ensure that your pub is really ticking all the boxes.

  4. Use the application process to improve your pub– entering an award gives you an opportunity to take a closer look at your business and benchmark it against others in the industry. It’s a chance to analyse your strengths and weaknesses and put into place strategies for improving and growing the business.

  5. Make the most of marketing opportunities– if you get shortlisted for an award, you can immediately start promoting your pub as ‘shortlisted’ or ‘nominated for’ a prestigious award. You don’t have to win to capitalise on this opportunity. Let people know that you’re in the running, and they will come to find out what all the fuss is about!

What If You Don’t Win? 

While winning an award is a massive pat on the back, and might come with a welcome cash prize or other perks, the experience of entering your pub for an award can be just as rewarding. Not only will you learn more about your business and the things that make it great, but also you, your staff and customers will benefit from all the hard work put in.

It may also give you inspiration to take your pub to the next level, by seeing what other operators are doing and learning from their success. Ultimately, you’ve got to be in it to win it, and there’s really nothing to lose by entering provided you give it your best shot.

Speak to your Business Development Manager about pub awards. They can help you identify the right awards to enter and advise you on things you can do to stand a good chance of winning.

If you’re looking to run an award winning pub our email series provides lots of great advice for finding a pub and developing your pub business. Click here for great advice from our team.