Narborough licensee receives award for success in reviving the town's pub

Narborough licensee receives award for success in reviving the town's pub

Mike Thomas, licensee of the Dovecote on Coventry Road, Narborough, has beaten off stiff competition from around the country to win the title of Newcomer of the Year in our national pub awards.

Mike’s first pub, the Dovecote was struggling when he took it over in December 2014 having previously been closed for three years. The judges gave Mike the prestigious award in recognition of his achievement in turning round the pub, increasing the number of customers by 500% and securing its future for the community.

The judges singled out Mike’s focus on customer service and great quality food for his success. Determined to offer fantastic service, Mike hired 25 new staff from the area when he took over including Leicester resident Hilary Barlow, who has been a local licensee for over 20 years, as landlady. The team has now grown to 35 and follows Mike’s mantra that nothing is too much trouble for their customers. The word ‘no’ is banned.

The judges were bowled over by the Dovecote’s food. Mike has introduced morning coffee and cakes, afternoon teas, a popular Sunday carvery and a menu based on pub goers’ favourite food from bangers and mash to steaks. Portions are generous, prices are reasonable and everything from coleslaw to onion rings is freshly prepared on the premises using quality ingredients.

Having worked in the hospitality industry for many years, Mike had always dreamed of having his own pub and as he approached the age of fifty decided it was time to take the plunge, looking at 35 pubs before choosing the Dovecote. He has now replicated his magic at the Lime Tree in Whetsone, which he took over in June 2015, and is looking for other pubs in the area.

“Behind every great pub is a great licensee and Mike puts the ‘great’ into great British pub; he has a natural flair as a landlord, a huge amount of passion for the job and a fantastic ability to tap into what customers want. His achievements at the Dovecote would be remarkable for an experienced licensee, they are amazing for a newcomer”, says Lawson Mountstevens, Managing Director for Star Pubs & Bars.

Mike and his wife Debbie received the coveted prize at a gala celebration night in Liverpool from football legend and broadcaster Chris Kamara.

“The award makes all our hard work worthwhile. It’s fantastic recognition for my brilliant team of staff led by Hilary and their commitment to creating a great pub and giving customers a good time. The support and welcome we’ve received from local people has been overwhelming, we couldn’t have done it without them. It will now be a double celebration when we mark our second anniversary at the pub in December”, says Mike.