“And the Winner is …”

The start of a year brings with it, apart from some really cold weather and bills from Christmas, the roll-out of the “awards season” … the BAFTAS, the EMMYS, the OSCARS and more. The hospitality industry aren’t left out either. Two that caught my eye are the “BII Licensee of the Year Award” and “The Publican Awards”. Both soirées will take place later in the year, but the process is now in place and some semi-finalists have been named.

There are some who are a teeny bit cynical about award do’s suggesting that they are just an excuse for a good party at someone else’s expense. But on examining the various criteria and some of the categories for these awards, it’s difficult not to feel respect for those making it through to the short list.

newyears_fireworks

The search for the BII winner is about to enter another phase of analysis and judges scrutiny as they look for “genuine passion, outstanding drive and the highest level of professionalism.” And after that is done, those still standing will be grilled in front of the judging panel until the winner is whittled out and finally announced on 14th May.

March 11th at the Grosvenor Hotel will see the presentation of the Publican Awards. These will focus on specific aspects of the industry and recognise their achievements. Awards for ‘Best Late Night Operator’ and ‘Best Pub Employer’ are among the many categories.

These events are the culmination of the process that various branches of the industry use to ensure their standards are at the level to which all should be aspiring. They also serve as a challenge to their peers to raise the bar in the various categories of service, décor, operations, initiative and so forth. Unlike the Oscars where it is all done for ‘entertainment value’ these awards are much more serious as they represent standards that directly impact on the public in the areas of food and drink safety, comfort and accommodation.

That the industry is taking all this seriously is good news for ‘Joe Pub-visitor’ as it ensures there are those who value him not only as a regular but that he goes home well satisfied, well fed, watered and rested too. So those not in the industry shouldn’t view these awards in quite the same light as those awarded for making them laugh and cry from a TV programme or film.

The players in the hard world of keeping the customer satisfied will value stocktaking companies like Rutters in their bid to attain and reach the standards their own industry demands. Without their professional help in the planning, feedback and advice they provide, it is virtually impossible to achieve the high standards these competitive awards are judged on.

The fact is, so many enter, but only a very few are able to achieve the acceptance-speech level. And this is where the unfairness of these awards creeps in. It is only the short list and the final winners who are paraded, photographed and lauded – that the public might conclude that the unnamed remainder of establishments are not good enough. Not so! It is a very tough competition with very high standards and there can only be one winner – it doesn’t mean the race wasn’t hard-fought.

Wouldn’t it be great to see your favourite pub with an award proudly displayed? But if it’s not the winner, it’s still the place that you choose to be – so don’t stop. Your Publican won’t stop trying, and maybe next year you’ll get the chance to have a swig out the trophy, along with the other loyal supporters.

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