TGI Friday's Karen Forrester named best individual retailer

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Retailing

Karen Forrester, UK managing director of TGI Friday's, won the Best Individual prize at the Retailers' Retailer of the Year Awards
Karen Forrester, UK managing director of TGI Friday's, won the Best Individual prize at the Retailers' Retailer of the Year Awards
Karen Forrester, managing director of TGI Friday’s in the UK, has been named Best Individual at this year’s Retailers’ Retailer of the Year Awards where Cote, Brasserie Blanc and Alex Reilley at Loungers were also winners.

After leading the American restaurant chain in the UK since 2007, Forrester is widely credited with reinvigorating the popular brand. The company has experienced over two year’s of continuous growth under Forrester’s leadership

Forrester took the prize in the 14th​ year of the awards which recognise excellent retail companies, individuals and concepts in the eating and drinking-out sector. The prizes are voted for by senior industry executives and organised by BigHospitality’s sister publication M&C Report.

Peer review

Mark Wingett, editor of M&C Report, said the awards were a unique way of discovering how the industry felt as the winners were all chosen by their peers.

“The Retailers’ Retailer Awards take their name because they are about retailing excellence. Strong customer propositions, great offers, supreme standards and flawless execution are the hallmarks of past winners. These awards are a true reflection of what the market itself thinks, voted by the sector’s leading players.

Forrester beat off stiff competition to take the accolade beating Andy Bassadone, chief executive of Cote, Steve Hill, chief executive of Wagamama and Jillian MacLean, founder of Drake & Morgan, among others

TGI Friday's also collected the Evolution Award on for re-energising the chain which operates 50 sites in the UK.

Jamie's Italian

Also celebrating at the ceremony on 7 March at The Dorchester, Park Lane, was French bistro chain Cote who took the Zolfo Cooper Profit Tracker Award for companies with the fastest growing profits. Nando's was named Best Company, Vietnamese street food restaurant Pho took the Best Emerging Concept and the Jamie's Italian restaurant in London's Threadneedle Street was declared the Best Venue.

Alex Reilley, managing director of bar and restaurant operator Loungers, was named as the Rising Star at the ceremony.

Wingett said the awards showed despite the tough economic climate the best hospitality operators were still able to find success.

“Over the last 12 months, it became increasingly clear that our best operators and concepts had weathered the storm and continued to prove their ability to out-perform the toughest of trading conditions. Many challenges still lie ahead but the market has never been stronger or better equipped to face whatever else is thrown its way,” he said.

The full list of winners of the Retailers’ Retailer of the Year Awards organised by M&C Report are:

  • Emerging Concept - Pho
  • Best Concept – Be At One
  • The Evolution Award – TGI Friday’s
  • Best Company – Nando’s
  • Best Venue - Jamie's Italian, Threadneedle Street
  • Deal of the Year - Brasserie Blanc's acquisition of Chez Gerard
  • Investor of the Year - Hill Capital
  • Rising Star - Alex Reilley, Loungers
  • Fastest Growing Profits - Cote
  • Best Individual – Karen Forrester, TGI Friday’s 

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