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National Off-Licence 2010 awards launch

NOffLA members get the opportunity to take a step back and assess their own businesses in preparation for the awards judging

Entry forms for the 2010 NOffLA Off-Licence of the Year competition have been issued to all members of the National Off-Licence Association. Although the second year of the revamped awards takes place in a changed Irish retail environment, it still promises to be an exciting competition as raising one’s standards is now so much more important.

All participants in the awards will receive a certificate of either Standard, Merit or Excellence, depending on their performance. The first .

Entering the National Off-Licence of the Year awards scheme is, for many, part of the operational management of their business. For many participants, the real ‘victory’ to be achieved by participating in these awards is in preparing one’s business for assessment.

Given the demands of the independent off-trade, one rarely gets an opportunity to take a good hard look at one’s businesses. Have you made time to take an objective perspective on how you might improve things? Have you considered how your outlet actually compares with others in the industry? Well, the most effective way of achieving all of these things is to participate in the National Off-Licence of the Year.

These awards have become an important process for those interested in setting and maintaining standards of excellence in the independent off-trade. Those who have participated in the scheme in the past would encourage all NOffLA members to enter, the payback for which is about much more than the chance to win an award. Because of the structured nature of the adjudication process, the preparation for and participation in the scheme helps to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of a particular outlet. Information gleaned from the report of the judges indicating where marks were awarded under various headings may be used to identify areas for improvement.

The very decision of entering for the awards places one in an objective frame of mind. It enables NOffLA members to stand back and take a long, hard and dispassionate view of their businesses. Given the frenetic pace of the independent off-trade, this is something that many proprietors very seldom get an opportunity to do properly.

Having made the decision to enter the awards scheme, the entry form and judging guidelines offer a comprehensive set of criteria against which to compare your own outlet. Even the most successful of stores will have particular strengths and weaknesses. Identifying these areas for the purposes of the awards scheme may prove useful in the short-term, but once identified, will prove very profitable in the longer term if acted upon.

Winner of the overall award twice, Cathal McHugh had no doubt about the benefits of entering the awards scheme. “You’ve got to keep an eye on the fact that preparing for this award is for the business and the customers. This is about driving the business forward and constantly trying to improve. It’s all about improving your bottom line.”

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