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Kuits NRB Top Fifty Awards

Kuits NRB Top Fifty Awards

About | Sponsors | Special Achievement Awards  | Alumni Kuits NRB Top Fifty

For the eighth year, the Kuits NRB Top Fifty will be the power list of the most significant and influential hospitality operators in the North. Long established names and nine new entries made up the 2018 list covering  216 brands, 1194 sites and over 22,200 employees. The 2019 awards will once again represent this charismatic and dynamic industry when announced on 19 March at NRB19.

Thom Hetherington, CEO of organisers Holden Media, said “Despite tremors in the casual dining market our NRB Top Fifty entrants have shown no shortage of ambition. Almost every one of the fifty has grand plans for expansion and new sites, and I am sure that 2018/19 will see a “rise of the indies” which will play to the strengths of our great Northern operators.” 

Nominations will open soon for the Kuits NRB Top Fifty awards in January 2019.

2018 Special achievement Winners

NRB Top FiftyTony Lyons, Kuits; Jobe Ferguson, Black Dog Group; Anni Opong, Arc Inspirations; Simon Potts, The Alchemist; Lyndon Higginson, Liar's Club & Thom Hetherington, CEO of Holden Media.

2018 Awards Book


Each year a limited number of hardback books are produced and handed out to each member of the Top Fifty. The books feature details of each entrant and why they have been selected as on of the Top Fifty hospitality operators in the North.

Sponsored by Kuits Solicitors

Kuits Solicitors

Kuits is a specialist legal and commercial adviser to the leisure and hospitality industry, working with hundreds of bars, restaurants, health clubs, theatres, cinemas, hotels, and food and beverage businesses across the UK. 

Ranked the No.1 law firm in the North West for the licensed trade by Legal 500 and winner of Best Law Firm at the Talk of Manchester Awards 2017, Kuits provides operators with specialist advice on everything from their leases and licensing applications to their employees and brand management.

Kuits is working with national brands such as Revolution, Brewdog, Turtle Bay, The Alchemist and The New World Trading Company, as well as exciting indie operators such as Bundobust, North Brewing Co and Gary Usher, to help their businesses grow and flourish.

Associate Sponsors

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Judging Notes

The NRB Top Fifty exists to recognise the most significant hospitality operators in the North of England. We look for individuals who are driving their businesses to sector-leading levels of commercial and critical success, who show consistency as well as evolution and innovation and who make a contribution to the industry and the region in terms of skills, training, ambassadorial work and general CSR.

The NRB Top Fifty can be chef patrons running world-class kitchens, or captains of industry building extensive multi-brand casual dining portfolios, but they must be inspirational standard bearers for the Northern hospitality industry.

The awards are judged by a panel of leading hospitality experts who span the fields of law, finance, property, insurance, marketing and business consultancy at some of the world’s biggest food and drink operations. They are all Northern-based and know the region intimately.

After the initial round of applications and nominations there is a rigorous paper-based research and assessment process collating hundreds of pages of information about potential inclusions. Following this there is an in-depth judging discussion and, where necessary, additional peer/industry interviews are carried out. We are grateful to The Russell Partnership and CGA Peach for their additional insight at this point.

Following this exhaustive process a definitive fifty is selected and balanced to ensure there is no bias in terms of industry sector or geography. A final round of discussion then takes place to select the three Special Achievement Award winners who the judges feel have achieved something truly exceptional within the preceding twelve months.