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Cateys 2016: Pub and Bar Award

08 July 2016
Cateys 2016: Pub and Bar Award

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Joycelyn Neve, Seafood Pub Company

Joycelyn Neve has emerged as one of the foremost young entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry, having started the successful Seafood Pub Company from scratch just six years ago, opening her first site at the age of just 25.

From that original venue, the Oyster & Otter in Blackburn, she has steered the business to eight sites in total (of which three are leasehold and the other five are freehold). And she doesn't plan on stopping there. By the end of August this year, the business will be at eight sites, and the aim is to have 20 in the next three to five years. "We like freeholds, like everyone, and we want to keep on growing that way, but if a fantastic lease comes along, we'll take it. The exciting thing is that the more sites you open, the more good people join you," Neve said in a recent interview with The Caterer.

Neve attributes the high level of those sales to customers' confidence in the freshness of the produce the pubs are cooking with, plus the fact that there is a focus on local sourcing. Meanwhile, despite all the work involved in running an expanding pub/restaurant business, Neve has still found time to join the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) as a non-executive director. Appointed in November 2015, the aim is for Neve to use her expertise in the industry to offer strategic direction and oversight for the BII, as well as connecting the business and board with networks of industry influences. Speaking about her appointment recently, Neve said: "Catering and hospitality as a serious career is something we need to raise awareness of. The training and skills that are provided, the great salaries which can be earned at an early age and the job satisfaction that comes from being involved in great customer service all make the industry the best to be involved in - in my opinion!"

It was that willingness to give something back to the industry she has been so successful in at such a young age, combined with a real flair for operating a group of high-quality pubs and restaurants, that impressed the judges of this category and made Neve our winner of the Pub and Bar Award at the 2016 Cateys.

What the judges said

"Joycelyn is already an inspiration to the gastro-pub world. Great produce, delivered beautifully. The service is great and each pub delivers something special for its community."

Hamish Stoddart

"Joycelyn is a stand-out winner in terms of being an inspirational character who has developed a strong business that develops young people, flexes its offer to suit its position and delivers a first-class product. Tenacity, progress and excellence are standout qualities that will see Joycelyn as an industry leader now and in the future."

Craig Bancroft

"Joycelyn is an inspiring businesswoman for the industry, demonstrating a natural flair for knowing her market, adapting to her market, and showing sound business and financial acumen."

Kate Mackenzie

The shortlist

  • Peter Borg-Neal, Oakman Inns & Restaurants
  • Richard Holmes, The Pint Shop, Cambridge
  • Joycelyn Neve, Seafood Pub Company

The judges

  • Craig Bancroft, Managing director, Northcote, Langho, Lancashire
  • Kate Mackenzie, Proprietor, the Pipe and Glass Inn, South Dalton, Beverley, East Yorkshire
  • Hamish Stoddart, Co-founder, Peach Pub Company
  • Ed Turner, Cultural attaché, Hippo Inns and pub operator, Buff and Bear

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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