JD Wetherspoon, Côte Restaurants, Wagamama, Zizzi and Gourmet Burger Kitchen were among the restaurant brands to be named the UK's best at the launch of the first Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2016.
Loungers' executive vice-chairman Alex Reilley was also named Champion of the Year by the founding judges at the awards ceremony at the Grange St Paul's hotel in London on 24 February.
The awards categories, which spanned pub operations, chain restaurants and independent sites, included employer of the year (Wagamama), best social responsibility (Ed's Easy Diner), and multiple casual-dining pub brand of the year (JD Wetherspoon).
Awards were given to the best designed independent casual-dining restaurant (Suvlaki, London, designed by AfroditiKrassa); best independent casual-dining restaurant (Project Pie, Dundee), and best independent casual-dining pub (the Northey Arms, Bath).
Reilley said: "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."
Andy Moat, people director at Wagamama, said: "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 Wagamama that we've got the award."
Keith Bird, chief operating officer at Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which won the best designed multiple casual-dining restaurant award for GBK on St Vincent Street in Glasgow (designed by by moreno:masey), said: "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."
The full list of winners
- 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)
- 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
- Multiple Casual Dining Pub Brand of the Year: JD Wetherspoon
- Multiple Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year: Côte Restaurants