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Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2016: Winners announced

Press Release   •   Feb 25, 2016 13:07 GMT

The UK’s best casual dining operators were revealed last night at the launch of the first Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards2016, organised by Diversified Communications UK.

JD Wetherspoon, Côte Restaurants, wagamama, Zizzi, and Gourmet Burger Kitchen all took home awards, while Loungers’ Alex Reilley was named ‘Champion of the year’ by the founding judges.

The 2016 winners were presented their awards by BBC Breakfast’sSteph McGovernat a prestigious ceremony on Wednesday 24 February at The Grange St. Paul’s Hotel in London, following the first day of the Casual Dining show. Over 300 industry professionals, including John Hutson, Steve Holmes, David Campbell and Alasdair Murdoch (CEOs of JD Wetherspoon, Azzurri Group, wagamama, and GBK respectively), were in attendance to recognise and celebrate the standout brands of the year across the growing multi-billion pound casual dining sector.

“It’s fantastic to be here, celebrating the success of businesses that are providing phenomenal growth for the UK economy,” says BBC business correspondent Steph McGovern.

Casual Dining’s group event director, Chris Brazier, says: “The casual dining market is thriving, thanks in large part to the fantastic innovations and dedication of operators and the incredible dining experience they offer. The launch of the Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards is a much overdue opportunity to celebrate their achievements and reward those companies who are making a real difference to the growth of this dynamic, fast-moving sector. The calibre of entries has been exceptional, congratulations to all our winners.”

Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2016 winners include:

Champion of the Year

– Alex Reilley, executive vice chairman at Loungers

“I’m incredibly honoured to win this award. There are so many people who contribute to what we do as a business and I just happen to be the person who’s at the forefront of it. It’s a real honour,” says Alex Reilley.

New Casual Dining Concept

– The Beer Kitchen

The Social Responsibility Award

– Ed’s Easy Diner

Casual Dining Marketing Campaign

– Zizzi – #ZizziTacklesCancer

Best Designed Independent Casual Dining Restaurant

– Suvlaki, Bateman St, London (designed by AfroditiKrassa)

Best Designed Multiple Casual Dining Restaurant

– GBK, St. Vincent Street, Glasgow (designed by moreno:masey)

“We’re delighted to win this fantastic award. We work with a talented group of designers that individually design every single restaurant. We’re proud of all our restaurants and we look forward to opening many more,” says Keith Bird, chief operating officer at Gourmet Burger Kitchen.

Best Designed Casual Dining Pub or Bar

– The Pint Shop, Cambridge (designed by Macaulay Sinclair)

Independent Casual Dining Restaurant

– Project Pie, Dundee

Independent Casual Dining Pub

– The Northey Arms, Bath

Employer of the Year

– Wagamama

“We’re absolutely delighted and thrilled to have won. We’ve grown to 4,500 employees now so it’s a credit to everyone at wagamamas that we’ve got the award,” says Andy Moat, people director at wagamama.

Multiple Casual Dining Pub Brand of the Year

– JD Wetherspoon

“We’re obviously very delighted to win. For a company that’s been going for 36 years it’s great that we can still be recognised as doing something good in the pub and restaurant world,” says John Hutson, CEO of JD Wetherspoon.

Multiple Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year

– Côte Restaurants

“We are really thrilled to have won this award and are proud to have been recognised as the leading restaurant in this sector. I would like to thank all the staff in our restaurants for their continuation of delivering fresh, high quality food and excellent service,” says Rebecca Tooth, front of house operations director at Côte Restaurants.

For further information, including a full list of finalists and details of the 2016 judging panel, please visit

The second day of Casual Dining 2016 is open from 10am to 5pm today at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London. David Campbell, CEO of wagamama (winner of Employer of the year), will be appearing ‘in conversation’ with CGA Peach’s Peter Martin in a closing Keynote. For more information, please visit


Media enquiries to:

Emma-Louise Jones, Head of PR

t: +44 (0)1273 645134




Awards enquiries to:

Louisa Pope, Awards Manager

t: +44 (0)1273 645140




Chris Brazier, Group Event Director

t: +44 (0)1273 645123


High res images available upon request:

All winners:

Alex Reilley:

Côte Restaurants:

JD Wetherspoon:

The inaugural judging panel for the Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards included Karen Forrester, CEO of TGI Friday’s UK; Keith Bird, chief operating officer of GBK; Kate Nicholls, chief executive of The ALMR; Anthony Pender, chairman of the BII; Peter Backman, MD of Horizons; Paul Charity, MD of Propel; Peter Martin, vice chairman of CGA Peach; industry pioneer Ian Neill; Alex Reilley, executive vice chairman of Loungers; Lorraine Wood, director of Arena; Mark McCulloch, founder and CEO of WE ARE Spectacular; David Worthington, chairman of Holmes & Marchant Design Group; Afroditi Krassa, founder of AfroditiKrassa; Theo Williams, designer & creative director of Theo Williams; Tina Norden, project director at Conran and Partners; and Chris Brazier, group event director of Casual Dining.

Casual Dining is a two-time winner of ‘Best Tradeshow Exhibition under 2,000sq.m’ at the Association of Event Organisers’ Excellence Awards. It was the first launch show (UK and international) in over five years to win ‘Best Tradeshow Exhibition under 2,000sq.m’ in 2014. In 2015, it successfully defended its title and won the category for a second time.

  • Diversified Communications UK Ltd (Diversified UK) is a fast growing trade event organiser and publisher based in Brighton, Peterborough, Leamington Spa, and Nailsworth, Glos. Diversified UK’s portfolio includes Casual Dining; lunch!; The Natural Food Show (part of Natural & Organic Products Europe); Nordic Organic Food Fair in Malmö, Sweden (co-located with Natural Products Scandinavia); camexpo; office*; SITS – The IT Service Management Show; Natural Products magazine; the Natural Beauty Yearbook; Geo Business; Ocean Business (including Offshore Survey Conference & Ocean Careers); MARELEC Marine Electromagnetics; Euro Bus Expo; Coach and Bus Live; British Tourism & Travel Show – the Best of Britain & Ireland; Route One; and Coach Monthly. For more information, visit:

Diversified UK is part of Diversified Communications, a leading international media company providing market access, education and information through global, national and regional face-to-face events, eMedia, publications and television stations. Diversified serves a number of industries including: seafood, food service, natural and organic, healthcare, commercial marine, and business management. Based in Portland, Maine, USA, Diversified employs over 800 staff, with divisions in the Eastern United States, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit:

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