For the seventh year, the NRB Top Fifty is an exciting power list of the North’s most significant and influential hospitality operators. Long established names and nine new entries make up the list covering  216 brands, 1194 sites and over 22,200 employees.

The NRB Top Fifty 2018, in association with Kuits Solicitors, has been announced today with a mix of long-established names and nine new entries.

Thom Hetherington, CEO of organisers Holden Media, says “Despite tremors in the casual dining market our NRB Top 50 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.”

Three special achievement awards were presented to Jobe Ferguson, Ross Mackenzie, and Lyndon Higginson from Black Dog and Liars Club, Simon Potts of The Alchemist, and Chris Ure and Martin Wolstencroft from Arc Inspirations.

  • Jobe Ferguson & Ross Mackenzie, Black Dog and Liars Club with Lyndon Higginson, The Liars Club

A complex portfolio has done nothing to dent the trio’s focus, and despite their unique impact on the region’s food and drink landscape it feels that they are only just beginning to click through the gears.

  • Simon Potts, The Alchemist

This award-winning brand has expanded rapidly without a single mis-step, with a pioneering approach to everything from marketing to CSR which has had other operators playing catch-up.

  • Chris Ure and Martin Wolstencroft, Arc Inspirations

Their ability to build such a sizable and multi-faceted business steadily and organically, without the need for significant outside funding, is a rare feat worthy of recognition.

New entries in 2018 include the founders and directors of Bundobust, Camerons Brewery, Wildsmith Hotels, Crafted Projects, Mowgli Street Food, Amber Taverns, James’ Places, East Coast Concepts & Rose Four Group.

A panel of Northern hospitality experts in the fields of hospitality finance, accountancy, property, law and consultancy deliberated and cogitated through hours of research and pored over hundreds of pages of judging notes. The prestige of sealing a place on the list matters more than ever with those included becoming part of the influential NRB Top 50 Alumni association as well as receiving VIP invitations to events including the exclusive Bruntwood NRB Debate and the Too Many Critics Manchester dinner.

The NRB Top Fifty 2018 is produced in association with Kuits Solicitors and sponsored by CGA, Jelf Group, Metis Real Estate, RSM UK and The Russell Partnership.

The invitation only NRB Top Fifty awards reception, supported by JW Lees and Manchester Hall, took place at 3.15pm on 20 March 2018 at Northern Restaurant & Bar, the North’s  hospitality exhibition.  It also formed part of NRB Fringe which, as well the awards and the exhibition, included the Bruntwood NRB Debate, Action Against Hunger’s Too Many Critics Manchester dinner, a host of industry association meetings and visitor special offers in bars and restaurants across the city.