Excerpts from his interview:
Thayu: The awards are given to pubs after a stringent selection process which has 3 stages. First each one of Fuller’s 40 area managers has to choose the top pub in his area. Every area manager is responsible for 25 pubs, so just to get nominated as the best among 25 is pretty good.
The second stage is really tough. Every nominated pub is visited by a panel of 14 judges – 6 of whom are independent of the Fullers Brewery. The pub is audited in all aspects of operation: finance, marketing, food management, quality of meals served, cleanliness, staff accommodation and customer service.
Only two pubs in each category are selected for the finals. Those pubs receive another visit, this time from 3 Fullers directors who come unannounced. The directors inspect the premises and talk to the landlord, then vote for the winner. I understand that The Viaduct received a unanimous vote as a winner in the Newcomer Pub category.
S: What has been your biggest challenge at The Viaduct?
Thayu: Its previous reputation. We have had to struggle hard to overcome “the dive” image attached to the place. We have set very high standards – no compromise… We chose our customers carefully – some former patrons had to be encouraged to try other public houses.