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Business leaders networking at the Peach 20/20 Conference  

17 Nov 2021

Industry innovators head list of winners at Peach 20/20 Hero & Icon awards

Prestigious prizes recognise 15 leading brands and individuals across the eating and drinking out sector

Peach 20/20 revealed the winners of its 2021 Hero & Icon Awards, the hospitality industry’s leading prizes for outstanding businesses and individuals, at an exclusive presentation dinner in London, last night (November 17).

Individual winners included Loungers founder and chairman Alex Reilley who picked up a coveted Industry Icon trophy, while Hawksmoor founder and CEO Will Beckett was named Industry Leader of the Year. Karen Jones CBE received the Industry Ambassador award, principally for her work behind the scenes engaging with Government.

Other winners included businesses as diverse as Slice by Pizza Pilgrims, Escape to Freight Island, Flight Club, Toby Carvery and Dishoom, which collected two awards on the night.

 The full list of winners is:



Industry Ambassador KAREN JONES CBE



Re-imagined Brand or Business DISHOOM

Best Destination / New Opening ESCAPE TO FREIGHT ISLAND

Most Admired Company or Brand DISHOOM

International Award FLIGHT CLUB

Best Major Business LOUNGERS

Entrepreneurial Company of the Year MOWGLI

Consumer Choice FRANCO MANCA


Power Brand WAGAMAMA

The roll-call of winners was led by Loungers executive chairman Alex Reilley, who joins a select list of 30 individuals who have been named Industry Icons since the Awards were launched 19 years ago. The award is presented to those that have shown inspirational leadership across a long period of time.

Since co-founding the business in 2002, Reilley has built Loungers into a quoted company with more than 170 sites and a market capitalisation of around £280m. Peach 20/20 founder and executive director Peter Martin said: “Alex and his co-founders have created something very different in Loungers, and it has taken the nation by storm. He is a shrewd leader who has recruited bright and talented people who share his vision and maintain the company’s momentum. Alex is smart, passionate and focused—a great modern entrepreneur and a poster boy for our sector.”

The majority of the Hero awards are decided by the votes and recommendations of fellow leaders from across the out-of-home food and drink market, while three categories – Consumer Choice, Power Brand and Brand Trust - are determined by the public, via data from CGA’s BrandTrack survey.

Hawksmoor co-founder Will Beckett received the Industry Leader trophy for his work across the industry during the pandemic as well as his leadership of the Hawksmoor group. Karen Jones CBE, who is actively involved in a number of sector businesses, including Prezzo, Mowgli and Hawksmoor, was presented with the Industry Ambassador, by UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls, for her championing of businesses and the hospitality industry as a whole, working closely with other leaders and the Government.

Indian restaurant group Dishoom triumphed in both the Most Admired Company or Brand and Re-imagined Brand or Business categories, while another leading Indian restaurant brand, Mowgli, was named Entrepreneurial Company of the Year.

Three dynamic pizza brands also received Awards. Slice by Pizza Pilgrims secured the Newcomer category and Manchester-based Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza was named best Breakthrough Brand, while Franco Manca picked up the Consumer Choice trophy.

Loungers received the Best Major Business award, while Manchester’s hugely popular open air food hall Escape to Freight Island won the category for best destination or new opening. The International Award went to competitive socialising concept Flight Club, which is already making an impact in the North American market.

The list of winners is completed by two long established brands: Wagamama taking the Power Brand category and Mitchells & Butlers’ Toby Carvery receiving the Brand Trust award.

The 15 Hero & Icon Awards winners were celebrated at a gala Hero & Icon Awards dinner following the Peach 20/20 Conference in London on Wednesday 17 November, attended by more than 300 senior executives and entrepreneurs.

The Peach 20/20 Hero & Icon Awards are supported by: headline partners CGA, Asahi, Bidfood, Diageo, Fourth, Stint and Zonal; premium partners Access and QSR Automations; and event partners Chapman Ventilation, Freeths, RSM, Yumpingo, Bacardi, CleanCo and White Claw.

Peter Martin says: “After a tumultuous 18 months for the hospitality sector, it is a huge pleasure to celebrate these outstanding companies and people at a ‘live’ event. They have all shown remarkable resilience and innovation and responded superbly to the many challenges they have faced.”


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