Last week, OpenTable announced our annual list of the top 50 “Fit for Foodies” restaurants in the UK, and we were excited to honor The Chef’s Table, based in Chester, with the #1 spot! The list is based on 400,000 reviews from verified diners at more than 4,300 restaurants across the region, and the restaurant received the award during the National Restaurant Awards ceremony on June 29th.
Looking at the restaurant’s OpenTable reviews, it’s no surprise The Chef’s Table topped the list. Here’s a sample review from one diner:
“Dedicated foodies will love this place. Every mouthful is completely delicious and presentation is superb. Clearly run by people who are dedicated to their craft.”
After the ceremony our UK team caught up with Tom Hughes, co-owner of The Chef’s Table, to hear what the award means for his team and his business, and what’s next for them.
What does winning this award mean for you and your restaurant?
It means a lot to be honest. Having only been open for less than 18 months, just the nomination for this category at an event like the National Restaurant Awards was unbelievable and beyond our expectations when we first set out to open the restaurant.
Winning this award is not only really big for us as individuals and for our team, because it’s the perfect motivation, but also for our guests, as it shows them that we are being recognised not just locally but on a national level.
Do you feel that awards (such as this one that is based on diner reviews) help grow your business and get more diners through the door?
It has to help. Especially in this industry, diners are always looking at reviews and listening to what other people have to say about their restaurant experiences, so to win this award — which is based solely on guests reviews of their experience at our restaurant — will really help drive more and more diners through our door.
It can only help to keep our existing customers coming back and attracting new diners to give us a go.
Do you feel that awards such as this one give your business a certain amount of gravitas and recognition?
Definitely, well I would hope so! The restaurant industry is large and thriving at the moment, and if you have the ambition to be up there with the best and the most seasoned restaurants then, of course, firstly you have to earn that right and work hard for it. But I like to believe that awards such as this will arrive and will keep arriving if you earn the right to receive them.
How do you use the awards and accolades your restaurant wins to help promote your business?
We use social media to tell the masses and allow all our customers and potential customers to indulge in the news. It is a great way to market your achievements.
We will of course list our achievements on our website too, but after that there is no time for dwelling on the past in this game — it has to be onwards and hopefully upwards. Focus again on the job in hand, keep pushing, and hopefully you’ll get the chance to briefly enjoy another accolade in the future.
How will you celebrate? How have you celebrated?
A couple of beers, quick pat on each others back and then quite simply back to work!
Is there one thing (a plate of food, customer service training, an extra marketing push) that you believe helped to win this award?
Any award that anyone wins anywhere is never down to just one thing. For us, we can only put it down to the levels of hard work that is put into our passion, which is this restaurant, and the product that is delivered to our customers. We never allow each other to take our eyes off the ball, always expect better from ourselves and our team, and finally always look at refining our product to make it the best it can possibly be. Other than that, it could just be luck!
What’s next for your restaurant?
Well, year one has been a roller coaster! Like any new business, it takes a while to get to grips with the operation side of it all, but its been a good first year and its been a successful one at that and with a number of awards under our belts.
Our goals are simple: keep our heads down, keep working hard with our product, always looking towards improvements. We believe our customers will remain excited about what we are delivering to them. Of course, hopefully moving on from this award, it would be nice to get an invite again in 2016!
Here’s the top 10 list of Fit for Foodies award winners: