The co-landlords at a Banbury pub are in the running for a prestigious national award, widely regarded as the most rigorous and hard-fought award for individual licensee operators in the UK.
Jem Morey and Anthony Murray from Ye Olde Reindeer Inn is among The British Institute of Innkeeping’s (BII) 12 semi-finalists for the 2019 ‘licensee of the year’ competition from 200 entrants.
The Parsons Street pub landlords said they were ‘chuffed’ to make it to the semi-finals having made the previous round the past two years.
Anthony said: “We’re honoured to be shortlisted for the top 12 licensees in the country, we’re excited to see how we do and the feedback has been great.”
The pair have been running The Reindeer since 2013 having previously been at The Wine Vaults – they also manage The Castle in Oxford.
Anthony credits their success to complementing each other in terms of skillsets and experience, and focusing on making the pubs as good as possible for the customers.
“We believe we have a much better experience than the other pubs, we keep our beer and food really good and we’re very customer service-orientated as that’s the most important thing, without customers there’s no business,” he said.
The duo will be scrutinised by BII director of commerical and membership Sue Allen and previous winner Ashley McCarthy in May to see if they will make the final six.
Mr McCarthy said: “Every year, the entrants continue to raise the bar, and 2019 is no exception.
“It has been really tough to decide on the final 12, but I’m very much looking forward to seeing these pubs in person and getting to know the semi-finalists”.
Once they have completed their tour of the semi-finalists’ pubs, the judges will whittling them down to the six finalists, who will be put through their paces by a panel of industry experts in three areas: marketing and business development, financial awareness and people development.
All six finalists will be presented with a trophy at the BII Summer Event on June 4, where the winner will be crowned.