(Hadalsame) 12 April 2019 – A public vote designed to celebrate local businesses in one city backfired – after Nando’s and Wetherspoon took top prizes.
Business luminaries in Preston had invited independent outfits to compete in their Smiles Better Awards show.
But residents in the Lancashire city made their feelings known – plumping for the two national chains in favour of the homegrown competition.
A local restaurateur said it “doesn’t show Preston in a great light”.
Peri-Peri chicken chain Nando’s was hot favourite in the restaurant of the year category, while pub of the year was won by JD Wetherspoon outpost the Twelve Tellers.
‘Like Boaty McBoatface’
Mark O’Rourke, who owns a group of local eateries, said it wasn’t fair to put local independents up against national chains.
“Wherever you go in the country and go into a Wetherspoon’s or a Nando’s, it’s the same as the last one you went into,” he said.
Mr O’Rourke, who runs We Don’t Give A Fork, Fino Tapas and the Otter’s Pocket in the city centre, was awarded multiple retailer of the year.
However, he said his complaints were “not about me winning more awards” but about giving local businesses a chance.