Café Rouge’s Alper Zan wins 2014 UK Restaurant Manager of the Year

Alper Zan: the new UK Restaurant Manager of the Year

Alper Zan: the new UK Restaurant Manager of the Year

Alper Zan of Café Rouge, Cheshire Oaks, was last night announced as the Academy of Food & Wine Service’s (AFWS) UK Restaurant Manager of the Year 2014 at a glittering gala dinner held at London’s Roof Gardens.

“I feel very proud, responsible and relieved – I’m so pleased to have won,” he said on receiving his award.

Amie Duncan of The Butchershop Bar & Grill, Glasgow, was runner-up, with Ian Sturrock of The Arts Club, London W1, in third place.

The winner receives a week at the world’s top hospitality management school, Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, sponsored by the Savoy Educational Trust.

Amie Duncan was awarded the Virgin Rising Star Award for which she receives a stage at The Roof Gardens, a certificate and a bottle of Champagne.

The UK Restaurant Manager of the Year competition aims to recognise and reward the best restaurant managers from across the hospitality industry. Last year’s winner was Janine Swales of BaxterStorey.

Six managers made it to through to this year’s final, having undergone interviews from the judges on their business acumen, management ability and food, wine and service knowledge.

The final stage of the competition involved, for the first time, members of the judging panel visiting the finalists in their own establishments to look at service standards and training.

Alper Zan was presented with the award on stage by Roy Ackerman, AFWS president, and Rt Hon John Thurso MP, patron of AFWS and Julia Sibley, chief executive of The Savoy Educational Trust.

Former winner and Babylon restaurant manager Peter Avis, who chaired the panel of judges said: “I am delighted we’ve got such a worthy winner. Alper Zan demonstrates real commitment, a sound knowledge of food and wine and customer service as well as the ability to manage his team. He is a true professional in a role that demands a wide range of skills from food and wine knowledge to business acumen.”

Said Roy Ackerman: “We had a very impressive line-up of finalists this year, but Alper emerged as the ultimate winner. Well done as well to Ian Sturrock and to Virgin Rising Star winner Amie Duncan, all of whom demonstrated a good range of both practical and business skills.”

Judge Stephen Motion, sales director for sponsor said: “It’s been fantastic to be part of this competition this year, particularly with the calibre and range of people now coming through. We’ve had entries from across the board, all with the skills and dedication that it takes to be a top class restaurant manager.”


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Amie Duncan
, The Butchershop Bar & Grill, Glasgow
Dace Lace, Bat Globe House, London WC2
Karen Lee, The Cavendish Hotel, London SW1
Sunnil Panjabi, The Punch Tavern, London EC4
Ian Sturrock, The Arts Club, London W1
Alper Zan, Café Rouge, Cheshire Oaks

The Academy of Food and Wine Service (AFWS) established in 1988, is the professional body for front-of-house service. It is dedicated to improving the status and awareness of food and beverage service as a viable career choice, raising standards across the industry, and by encouraging teamwork to foster good relations with other industry sectors. The Academy can offer advice and training to anyone following, or considering, a career as a sommelier, wine waiter, waiter, bar manager or restaurant manager

Alper Zan, 39, has worked for Tragus-owned Café Rouge for five years. Tragus is one of the UK’s largest casual dining operators with over 200 restaurants and circa 5,000 team members. Brands include Café Rouge, Bella Italia, Belgo and other concepts.
Alper is currently based at the group’s Cheshire Oaks site as general manager, but he has worked at several of the group’s sites including Liverpool One, Chester and Liverpool Met Quarter. Part of his role within Café Rouge is as area coach, a multi-site development role reporting to the area manager/regional director. Alper has a particular interest in group training and one-to-one coaching. He works well under pressure and particularly impressed the judges with his all-round knowledge of the industry, ability to manage, lead and inspire a team as well as his likeability.
Alper has also worked in a family pizza business, as well as for Little John’s in the US. Alper lists his particular skills and being good at planning, time management and organisation as well as having good interpersonal skills.
He speaks fluent Turkish, is interested in sport – keeping fit by running, swimming and playing table tennis.