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Kelly Lewis from fish and chip shop, Petrou Brothers, wins food and drink service industry’s Serving Superstar competition

The Serving Superstar competition saw customers and colleagues nominating service professionals they felt provided a consistently excellent guest experience to receive a £1,000 mega tip. Following an intense round of judging, it was Kelly Lewis from Petrou Brothers in Chatteris who claimed the Serving Superstar title. After 18 months in which the food and hospitality markets have suffered tremendously, the event was an opportunity for QikServe and its partners to give back and celebrate staff in this hardworking industry.  

Fridays, Center Parcs, Wells & Co and Call Systems, alongside QikServe, further awarded second place to Debbie Burden, owner of Kingsbury Coffee Lounge in Kent, and third to Marcus Race, Director of cafe and bistro, Bayberry Hollow, in Durham. 

Kelly who works at Petrou Brothers, was secretly nominated by a colleague who described her approach to customer service, saying, “She always brings her best smile, attention and energy to her role. What’s more, she always has an eye and an ear on her colleagues and anticipates their needs as well as doing her own job.” 

Her nominee further described examples of Kelly’s customer service in play: 

If someone places a big order with no chips on it, Kelly will send a push notification or even  phone them in case they may have missed them off – especially if she recognises the customer  details as someone who usually has chips. Guess what? 9 out of 10 times she spots a customer  mistake and fixes it before our driver has even left. 

The judges were looking for a combination of personality, helpfulness, attention to detail, resourcefulness and attentiveness when scoring the entries. They further wanted to see examples of nominees going ‘beyond the call of duty’. Kelly received high scores in all areas.  

Commenting on her win she said: “I’m still in shock I can’t quite believe I have won. I have never worked for better people than Mark and his brother Pete. They are great bosses and go above and beyond to help everyone they know; they truly are fantastic to work for. It’s wonderful to know that they think so highly of me.” 

Second-place winner, Debbie Burden from Kingsbury Coffee Lounge in Headcorn was also praised for her knowledge of and relationship with regular customers. The customer that nominated her explained: “she always remembers our favourites from the menu and the comfy sofa where my son likes to sit. We often leave toys behind but they’re always there waiting for us on our next visit.”  

After finding out about her nomination and win, Debbie commented: “It’s so lovely to be nominated by one of our customers and testament to the service standards we try and uphold here at Kingsbury. All hospitality venues have had a particularly tough year and receiving this award has been really uplifting!” 

Mark Jeffries, Solution Architect at Fridays comments: “We were blown away by the entries we saw coming in from all around the UK. The way customers and fellow professionals described the people they nominated showed how integral customer service remains to the experience of guests. Small actions like remembering a guest’s favourite menu items mean a lot, while going the extra mile to deliver items to a person that may be isolating or unable to leave their home – that can make a person’s day. We saw countless examples of serving superstars heading out of their way to make guests happy.” 

Eloise Sheppard, Managing Direct at Call Systems, adds: “It was clear from nominations that true customer loyalty hinges on a great service – and not just as a one off, but consistently. We saw phrases like ‘always smiling’, ‘patient’, ‘friendly’ and ‘personal’ coming through a lot. These are characteristics that go towards the make-up of a serving superstar.” 

Joe Medrek, Head of Information Technology, Wells & Co says: “It has been a pleasure to be involved in the Serving Superstars competition. The food and drink service industry has been through a difficult period, and businesses have relied on the continued custom of loyal guests to survive. It’s wonderful to see those guests being rewarded for that loyalty with the customer experiences described. So many of those nominated worked for small and medium sized brands where local reputation is essential – I just want to say well done to every single person nominated, and indeed, every single worker in our amazing, hardworking industry.” 

Damaein Houghton, Group F&B Operations Manager, Center Parcs comments, “The level of professionalism, warmth, dedication and service we’ve seen in this competition is outstanding. It’s not always easy working at front of house in this industry and it’s great that we’re able to take a moment and recognise the fantastic work serving staff do, day in day out, to make their customers’ experiences better.”  

Third place in Serving Superstars went to Marcus Race from Bayberry Hollow in Tanfield, County Durham. Marcus’ entry stood out due to the extra level of effort he went to for a customer suffering from COVID-19. On VE day 2020, Marcus turned up on the doorstep of the customer’s grandparent’s house with the afternoon teas she had ordered, some extra treats and a bag full of essentials such as bread, milk and eggs. “Not only did he make my grandparents day but mine too and I really feel like Bayberry Hollow value their customers so much.” 

Daniel Rodgers, President of QikServe, finishes: “2021 is QikServe’s tenth year in business and we wanted to use this milestone as an opportunity to recognise those that have went above and beyond. Especially given the challenging times we have all faced. Technology means little to guests if not combined with caring and conscientious staff such as those we’ve seen celebrated in this competition. We are grateful to the fantastic judges who assembled to read through the nominations, as well as those customers and industry colleagues that drew our attention to the amazing and heartwarming stories encountered. Congratulations Kelly, Debbie and Marcus! It was pleasure find out about your contributions. Well done to all the serving superstars nominated. You made our decision very difficult.” 

Our judges

A huge thank you to our judges who took the time to review all the nominations from the competition: Mark Jeffries, TGI Fridays, Joe Medrek, Wells & Co, Daniel Rodgers, QikServe and Eloise Sheppard, Call Systems as well as virtual support from Damaein Houghton from Center Parcs. 


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