CGA Peach honours Heroes and Icons

The outstanding achievements of 13 restaurant and pub brands and four industry leaders have been celebrated at this year’s CGA Peach Hero and Icon Awards.

Leading the roll call of winners are three Icon Award recipients: Rupert and Jo Clevely and Karen Jones.

The Clevelys have been recognised for their pivotal role in the transformation of British pubs. Having taken on their first site in 1995, they grew Geronimo Inns to 26 sites by the time it was sold to Young’s in 2010, using innovative design, high quality food and drink and outstanding service to set an example for other operators to follow. Since leaving the running of Geronimo the Clevelys have set up Hippo Inns, a managed pub partnership with Enterprise Inns. Presenting them with the Icon Awards, CGA Peach vice president Peter Martin said: “This pair has played a major and pioneering part in the transformation of the British pub, bringing style, imaginative design and top-notch hospitality. They are one classy act.”

The third recipient of an Icon Award is Karen Jones, who shook up casual dining after co-launching Café Rouge in the late 1980s. After working for Whitbread when it bought Café Rouge, she went on to become chief executive of Spirit Pub Company. Recognised with a CBE in 2006, she is now a sought-after non-executive director, adviser and mentor, and involved with her own Food & Fuel venture in London. Peter Martin’s citation said: “Karen has done just about everything there is to do in this sector—launched a restaurant chain, floated on the stock market, sat at the top of one of our biggest corporations and created another business from scratch—and there is more to come from this truly inspirational leader.”

A fourth individual, Leon co-founder John Vincent, was honoured at the Awards night with the Industry Leader Award—given for achievements not just at his own company but in the wider food industry through involvement in initiatives like the project to improve school dinners in the UK.

Elsewhere at the Hero and Icon Awards, Vincent’s Leon brand triumphed in the Evolutionary Brand category. Other double winners were Franco Manca, named both Breakthrough Brand and Best Concept; and Pret a Manger, presented with the Awards for Most Admired Brand and Best Company (50 sites plus).

The remaining winners are a combination of established successful operators and dynamic new entrants into the market. US-based MOD Pizza received the Newcomer Award following a successful launch into the UK, while Albert’s Schloss, a new Bavarian-style bar in Manchester, took the prize for Best Destination Opening. Vietnamese brand Pho was named Best Entrepreneurial Company (sub 50 sites), while the Consumer Choice Award went to Mexican operator Wahaca.

Three more fast growing concepts were also honoured: Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian with the Best Quality Brand Award; The Alchemist with the Best Drinks Offer category; and Turtle Bay with the Brand XP Award. The roster of winners was completed by pub operator JD Wetherspoon, named Power Brand.

The winners all received their Awards at a special dinner following CGA Peach’s 2020 Conference in London on Wednesday (23 November), a sell-out gathering of leaders of the eating and drinking out markets.

CGA Peach vice president Peter Martin said: “We are delighted and honoured to celebrate the achievements of so many superb brands and inspirational individuals at the CGA Peach Hero & Icon Awards. Our brand winners are all vibrant concepts that highlight the incredible diversity and innovation at play in the UK’s pub and restaurant sector at the moment. Our industry is not short of challenges at the moment, but these dynamic brands and exceptional leaders are welcome reminders of our huge collective strength, too. We salute all those who received Awards and were shortlisted, and draw inspiration from their achievements as we move into 2017 with optimism and ambition.”

CGA Peach’s Hero & Icon Awards and 2020 Conference are supported by platinum partners Bookatable, Coca-Cola European Partners, Coffer Corporate Leisure, CPL Online, Crown Cellars, Diageo, Fourth, HGEM, NatWest and Zonal; and by event partners Asahi, Casual Dining Show, Fishbowl, Reynolds, RSM, Sky, Steelite, Travers Smith, Action Against Hunger and Springboard.

The full list of CGA Peach Hero and Icon Awards winners is as follows:

INDUSTRY ICONS Presented by CGA Peach Rupert and Jo Clevely

INDUSTRY ICON Presented by CGA Peach Karen Jones

NEWCOMER Presented by CPL Online MOD Pizza

BREAKTHROUGH BRAND Presented by Bookatable Franco Manca

EVOLUTIONARY BRAND Presented by Reynolds Leon

BEST DESTINATION OPENING Presented by Asahi Albert’s Schloss

MOST ADMIRED BRAND Presented by Fourth Pret a Manger

BEST CONCEPT Presented by Crown Cellars Franco Manca

BEST ENTREPRENEURIAL COMPANY (SUB 50 SITES) Presented by RSM Pho

BEST COMPANY (50 SITES PLUS) Presented by Zonal Pret a Manger

INDUSTRY LEADER Presented by Davis Coffer Lyons John Vincent, Leon

CONSUMER CHOICE Presented by Coca-Cola European Partners Wahaca

BEST QUALITY BRAND Presented by Casual Dining Show Jamie’s Italian

BEST DRINKS OFFER Presented by Diageo The Alchemist

BRAND XP AWARD Presented by HGEM Turtle Bay

POWER BRAND Presented by NatWest JD Wetherspoon