The shortlist for the 35th Catey Awards has revealed that Peter Borg-Neal, Founder and CEO of Oakman Inns & Restaurants, the operators of 22 venues across the Home Counties, Midlands and beyond has been shortlisted for a top honour.
Of the three finalists in the Pub & Bar Award, the 22-strong pub company that Peter founded over 10 years ago, is the only multi-site group to be selected, (as opposed to an individual pub), a recognition in itself of the high corporate and ethical standards Oakman Inns sets across its estate.
Oakman runs founding venue The Akeman in Tring as well as The King’s Arms, Banyers House, Beech House and The Red Lion in Herts. The pub operator also runs the White Hart in Bedfordshire, The Betsey Wynne, The Akeman Inn, The Cherry Tree, The Dog and Badger and two Beech Houses in Bucks, The Navigation at Thrupp Wharf in Cosgrove Northamptonshire, The Old Post Office, Blue Boar and Crown and Thistle in Oxon and The Globe in Warwick.
To make the Pub & Bar Award shortlist, recipients must run, own or manage a pub or pub group with a food element and the judges, all leading hospitality industry figures, are not only looking for great business acumen encompassing flair and innovation, but a total commitment to staff training, customer service, the food offer and a real sense of community involvement.
Peter Borg-Neal said: “I think it’s easy for people to forget just how important the hospitality industry is to the economy of the UK, contributing over 4% of GDP and a GVA contribution almost three times greater than that of the transport manufacturing sector. It’s an industry that is always looking for new talent and this is a fabulous recognition of the talent and skills that our teams display every day across the entire company. From glass washers, chefs and bar teams to front of house members to managers, Oakman works around the clock to be the best we can be, and to work with our communities to make all our lives a little bit better.”
Peter recently announced his aspiration to make Oakman Inns entirely free from single-use plastics, having been the first pub group in the UK to ban the use of single-use plastic straws in April 2017. Oakman Inns has opened two brand new pubs in Buckinghamshire this year – The Beech House in Amersham in February and The Cherry Tree in Olney. The group also runs the Swanbourne Music Festival behind The Betsey Wynne in Swanbourne near Milton Keynes and will shortly be opening their biggest ever pub development in Berkshire, the Royal Foresters in Ascot, with a total investment of nearly £10m. The Royal Foresters will have a 150-cover restaurant, 80 seat private function room, 24 luxury bedrooms and several environmentally beneficial build elements to reduce its eco-footprint.
The Cateys are one of the UK’s most respected industry awards and every year the best of Britain’s chefs, hoteliers, publicans, brewers, suppliers and managers eagerly wait to see if they have been shortlisted by the distinguished judging panel. This year, more than 100 judges met at London’s Dorchester hotel for three days of intense debate to discuss the nominees and to produce the shortlist.
The winners, representing the business leaders, innovators and household names in the British hospitality industry, will be revealed at a glittering event on 3rd July at London’s Grosvenor House.