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8th March 2020

Double or Nothing: Stonegate’s Awards Season gets off to flying start

Publican Awards Best Pub Employer - Nina Marshall, Tim Painter & Suzanne Haydon with sponsors MCA and comedian Rob Beckett

Stonegate Pub Company has scooped the award for Best New Wellbeing Strategy at the 2020 Reba Employee Wellbeing Awards. Breakfast television presenter, Louise Minchin, presented the award to the company’s Head of HR, Suzanne Haydon, at the ceremony held at BAFTA in London last night, Thursday 5 March.

The award marked the second round of accolades the company has received in two days after it scooped Best Pub Employer (501+ employees) for the third time at the Publican Awards on Wednesday night.

The Best New Wellbeing Strategy award recognises businesses that have successfully implemented the first phases of a wellbeing strategy within the last two years. Stonegate was commended for its dedication to the career progression of its employees, its culture of recognition and reward, as well as its numerous programmes designed to enhance the employee experience. The pubco beat off, amongst others, TUI and HSBC who were also shortlisted for this category.

Notable schemes from Stonegate included Wagestream, which allows hourly paid employees to access to up to 30% of their earned wages at any point during the pay-cycle easing the pressure of financial stress, and the Employee Assistant Program, which sees Stonegate partner with the hospitality industry’s Licensed Trade Charity, to support employees in a wide-ranging, confidential and easily accessible way – ranging from mental health and general health to housing, relationships, education and training.

Suzanne Haydon said: “It is such an honour to be recognised for the work we have done for our employees at such a prestigious awards ceremony. We are dedicated to delivering the best possible working experience to all of our staff and we want to keep building on those pillars of support we are already offering.

“This year has already seen us enhance our Maternity and Paternity Leave policy, as well as include adoption and IVF treatment under that umbrella, introduce a long-service recognition scheme and from 1 April, we will also be offering two weeks of bereavement leave at full pay for all employees who lose a close family member.

“Stonegate is a company built on its people and we fully intend to show that same loyalty and commitment to our staff, as they show to our business.”

Chief Executive Simon Longbottom said: “The last year has been incredible for Stonegate. We have continued to grow the business through acquisition and market consolidation, investing in our people and our sites to enable them to deliver consistent sales and profit growth outperforming the market.

“It is testament to the calibre, dedication and hard work of our teams within the business that peers and industry experts recognise Stonegate in this way.”

These latest awards follow on from a phenomenal 2019 when Stonegate picked up a total of 16 industry awards, six of which were secured by its chairman and chief executive. Unquestionably a pub industry icon, chairman Ian Payne MBE was officially recognised as such last year, picking up the CGA Peach Industry Icon accolade[1] and an Icon Award[2]. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award[3] for his contribution to the pub industry. Meanwhile, CEO Simon Longbottom, was declared Industry Leader of the Year[4], Business Leader of the Year[5] (a title which Payne claimed in 2014) and a 2019 Maserati 100 business innovator.



Editor’s Notes:

About Stonegate Pub Company

Following the acquisition of Ei Group on 3rd March 2020 for £1.27bn, Stonegate Pub Company is the largest pub company in the UK.  It’s portfolio is comprised of 1270 sites within the managed division and 3457 leased and tenanted businesses.

The managed pubs division, which employs 17,000 people, is split into Branded and Traditional pubs. Branded is comprised of: Slug & Lettuce, Walkabout, Be At One and Venues. Traditional (unbranded) pubs is made up of: Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, Classic Inns, Common Room, Craft Union and Bermondsey Pub Group.



  • REBA Employee Wellbeing Awards – Best New Wellbeing Strategy (500+ staff)
  • Publican Awards – Best Pub Employer (501+ employees)


  • BII’s National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs): HR Manager of the Year – Lee Woolley
  • CGA Insight Hero and Icon Awards (two awards): Icon Award – Ian Payne MBE, Business Leader, Simon Longbottom
  • UK Hospitality’s Dusk ‘til Dawn Late Night Awards (two awards) – Icon Award (Ian Payne MBE), Best Marketing and Promotions Award
  • Great British Pub Awards – Best LGBTQ+ Pub
  • BII Scotland Awards – Best Operator for Training
  • Retailers’ Retailer of the Year (two awards): Lifetime Achievement Award – Ian Payne MBE, Investor of the Year – TDR Capital
  • Menu Innovation & Development Awards (MIDAS) (two awards): Best Menu – Premium High Street Pub: Slug & Lettuce; Best Menu – Town & City Pub: Walkabout
  • Publican Awards (five awards): Best Community Pub Operator, Best Pub Employer (501+ employees), Best Managed Pub Company (51+ sites), Best Drinks Offer, Business Leader of the Year – Chief Executive, Simon Longbottom


  • British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) – Chairman’s Award
  • UK Hospitality’s Dusk ‘til Dawn Late Night Awards: Best Service & Team
  • Licensed Trade Charity: Outstanding Corporate Contribution Award
  • Great British Pub Awards (two awards): Best LGBTQ+ and Best Sports Pub
  • APPBG PUBAID Corporate Charity Fundraiser Award 
  • Publican Awards: Best Late Night Operator


  • Great British Pub Awards (three awards): Best Pub Garden, Best Entertainment and Best Sports Pub
  • Publican Awards (two awards): Best Managed Pub Company; Best Late Night Operator, plus highly commended – Best Employer
  • Menu Innovation and Development Award (MIDAS): Premium High Street Pub – Town Pub & Kitchen
  • Retailers’ Retailer Award: Investor of the Year – TDR Capital


  • BII National Industry Training Awards (NITAs) (two awards): Best Managed Company for Training; Lifetime Achievement Award for Chairman, Ian Payne
  • Great British Pub Awards: Best Sports Pub
  • Scottish Training Federation: Best Large Employer
  • HR Excellence Awards: Best Learning and Development Strategy
  • HR Distinction Awards: Innovation for Digital & Social Media


  • HR Distinction Awards: People Development


  • HR Distinction: Innovative Use of Technology
  • Publican Awards: Business Leader of the Year, Chairman Ian Payne
  • Menu Innovation and Development Award (MIDAS): Best New Concept Missoula, Montana Bar & Grill


  • Publican Award – Best Pub Employer
  • Menu Innovation and Development Award (MIDAS): City and Bar Dining – Slug and Lettuce


[1] Hero and Icon Awards 2019

[2] UK Hospitality’s Dusk ‘til Dawn Late Night Awards 2019

[3] MCA Retailers’ Retailer of the Year Awards 2019

[4] Hero and Icon Awards 2019

[5] Publican Awards 2019