The finalists have been announced by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers for its annual search for the best operations managers in the industry.
They are from many of the UK’s leading bar and pub operators including Novus Leisure, The Deltic Group, Casual Dining Group, Star Pubs & Bars and Mitchells and Butlers.
The ALMR Operations Managers Awards cover two categories: area manager of the year, representing managed pubs and bars, and business development manager of the year, representing leased or tenanted pubs.
The finalists for area manager of the year are Alessandro Bertie and Simon Miles from Casual Dining Group, Martha Ingham and Sarah Pibworth of Mitchells and Butlers, David Layton of Novus Leisure, Howard Nye from Anglian Country Inns and Russell Quelch of The Deltic Group.
For business development manager of the year, the finalists are Martin Bailey from Everards, David Bigio of Thwaites, Caren Geering and Edwin Pope of Admiral Taverns, Richard Foster from Star Pubs and Bars, and Stephen Carr, Dominic Doran, Jason French, Caroline Griffiths and Steve Morris from Enterprise Inns.
They will be assessed over a day of routine business visits by one of the awards’ mentor judges before they head to the highly regarded ALMR MasterClass inspired by Ashridge Consulting, supporting their own professional development.
This year’s mentor judges are: Andrew Thompson, former operations director of Punch Taverns; Kris Gumbrell, chairman of Brewhouse and Kitchen; Philip Lay, former retail director of SA Brain; and Tony Marten, former operations director of George Gale & Co.
Twenty years after the awards were founded, the judges report that the standard of entries again demonstrates that the sector is home to some exceptional talent, underpinning the importance of the awards and the recognition they give to the best operations managers in the UK.
Nick Bish from the ALMR said: “We have always been exceptionally proud of the way the awards recognise and reward the best operations managers regardless of size of business.
“I have nothing but admiration for the phenomenal ability of these individuals to develop the company’s growth strategy by supporting, guiding and encouraging licensees to produce popular and profitable retail businesses.
“What is particularly pleasing is that we continue to receive nominations from new companies and those engaging in the competition for the first time, demonstrating both that the awards continue to have relevance and the spread of training and investment in this section of the market.
“To date, over 75 companies, small and large, have nominated individuals for these awards.”
The winning area manager and business development manager will be announced in front of the 1,200 guests at the ALMR Christmas Lunch on Thursday December 17 at Old Billingsgate in London.
The ALMR’s membership – pub, club, bar and casual dining operators – run 17,500 outlets and employ over 375,000 employees, accounting for almost all managed pubs and bars in the UK as well as leading casual dining chains and nightclubs.
The ALMR Operations Managers Awards are funded by patrons who are leading suppliers and operating companies in the sector. They are CPL Training, Diageo, Enterprise Inns, Everards, Greene King Pub Co, Halewood, JD Wetherspoon, Novus Leisure, Punch Taverns, Roslyn and Venners.