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Top of the Ops

Posted By Kate Nicholls, UKH CEO, 26 September 2019

The final of this year’s UKHospitality Operations Managers Awards is almost upon us. This year’s winners will be announced on 8 October at Bar Salsa in Central London. If one of your team is a Finalist, then you will no doubt be looking forward to the big night. If nobody from the company is involved this year, then I still encourage you to book a ticket, come along and find out what a great occasion it is.

If you are not familiar with the Operations Managers Awards, then you are missing out on one of the highlights of the hospitality calendar. Now in its 24th year, the Awards was established at the ALMR by its then Chief Executive, Nick Bish. Nick continues to guide the Awards and has worked to evolve them for more than twenty years now. Winners used to be announced at the annual Christmas Lunch, and now they are unveiled during a dedicated event celebrating the huge amount of work the finalists have put into the Awards over the course of the year.

And the work that goes into winning an Operations Managers Awards really does take most of the year. The Awards is much more than one night in the sector’s social calendar. This annual competition is a rigorous test of a manager’s skill, knowledge and flair that begins in early Spring and continues until October. The process, which is the only one of its kind in hospitality, has several parts, beginning with a comprehensive entry paper and ending with an exhaustive panel interview, by way of a three-day MasterClass and in-the-field assessment. The Awards is designed to be tough in order to identify the very best that hospitality businesses have to offer. Within our sector, it is widely regarded as a the most searching test of an ops manager’s skill and determination, and the innovation, insight and skill they bring to their businesses.

The inaugural winner was Simon Longbottom who was, at the time, the operations manager of Mill House Inns and who has, it would be fair to say, gone on to achieve considerable success in hospitality! Finalists in recent years have come from across the hospitality sector from businesses including: Bella Italia, Mitchells & Butlers, Deltic Group, Yo! Sushi and Stonegate Pubs. The wide range of businesses reflects not only the diversity of our sector, but also the way in which the Awards has grown and evolved since its inception as a pub-focused competition 24-years ago.

One of the Awards’ great strengths has to be its robust and comprehensive judging process. Entry papers are in-depth and probe entrants’ understanding of the sector in which they work along with the contribution they make. Entrants must be able to highlight examples in which they have made significant commercial success, otherwise they will go no further. From there, a maximum of 20 finalists will get feedback on their psychometric profile before the three-day MasterClass focusing on leadership, strategic thinking, change management and business in society. Finalists are then assessed in the field, before individual interviews before two separate judging panels.

The Operations Managers Awards judging process is so rigorous that it won Best Judging Panel and Process and the 2019 Awards Awards against competition from national charities, publishers and NGAs so our Winners can be entirely confident that they have thoroughly earned the accolade.

That exhaustive but stimulating process will culminate this year on 8 October and I want to wish all the Finalists the best of luck. If you are interested in getting involved, then I encourage to nominate your best ops managers next year and give them a chance to pit their wits and expertise against their peers. In the meantime, even if you do not have any team members nominated that is no reason not to attend the ceremony. In fact, there is every reason you should come along and enjoy the Awards as a spectator, before you yourself get involved in 2020.

Keep your eyes peeled early next year as nominations open for the 2020 Awards. In the meantime, visit the UKHospitality website to book tickets to this year’s ceremony and make sure you don’t miss out.


 

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