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Cambridge BID Awards 2022: Showcasing the winning businesses - and what mystery shoppers said about them





The recent Cambridge BID Awards once again showcased outstanding customer service from businesses, following mystery shopper assessments by independent market research company Storecheckers.

The winners of the 2022 Cambridge BID Awards with mayor Cllr Mark Ashton, front left, and Cambridge BID CEO Ian Sandison, front right. Picture: Richard Marsham (59739756)
The winners of the 2022 Cambridge BID Awards with mayor Cllr Mark Ashton, front left, and Cambridge BID CEO Ian Sandison, front right. Picture: Richard Marsham (59739756)

The Cambridge Independent was proud to support the awards once again and here, over four pages, presents the winners and the findings from their assessments.

Best Overall Customer Experience

Late Night Venue - Winner: Cambridge Brewhouse

Cambridge Brewhouse - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011845)
Cambridge Brewhouse - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011845)

With its own on-site micro-brewery, Cambridge Brewhouse is the perfect place to meet up with friends for a relaxed evening out. Offering an extensive selection of homemade ales and craft beers alongside delicious fresh food options, customers can kick back and watch the game, compete in the fantasy league or enjoy the latest pub quiz.

Jessica Bliss, area operations manager, said: “Winning this award is fantastic, because it shows that we’re looking after our customers well – which is what it’s all about. Why not check out our ‘beer and bites’ experience or book in for a Sunday roast with all the trimmings? We like to call Cambridge Brewhouse ‘the complete pub’ because we’ve got all areas covered!”

Storecheckers said: “I would definitely return to this venue. The staff went above and beyond to be friendly. Their smiles shone through with their personality and it was really nice to be in their company. It was clear they enjoyed their jobs and that they enjoyed serving their customers. I would definitely return to this venue for evening drinks.”

thecambridgebrewhouse.com

Restaurant – Joint Winner: Tabanco

Tabanco - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Cambridge BID (60011863)
Tabanco - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Cambridge BID (60011863)

Offering a warm Spanish welcome, this imaginative restaurant offers diners a seasonal menu of small plates, or tapas, with weekly specials – all inspired by the country’s various culinary regions. Their dishes are complemented by an extensive wine list, sourced by a master of wine directly from Spain’s finest small-scale wineries.

Restaurant manager Alejandro Gallego commented: “It’s been a fantastic month: first a visit and terrific review from the Michelin Guide and now this award! Thank you. We love to share our passion for Spanish cuisine with our customers, trying always to offer something to tempt every palate - from steamed Palourde clams to pisto terrine and butternut squash borani.”

Storecheckers said: “I absolutely would return to this venue. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit as the staff members me feel so welcome and the food was absolutely amazing. The restaurant had a brilliant atmosphere and was somewhere you can spend quite a few hours with friends.”

tabanco.co.uk

Restaurant – Joint Winner: Trinity

Trinity Restaurant - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011847)
Trinity Restaurant - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011847)

Trinity is an elegant, modern restaurant set in the historic centre of the city. Serving innovative dishes from Thursday to Sunday, paired with a forward-thinking wine list, the warm ambience is perfect for lunch with friends or a family celebration.

Matthew Marshall, Owner, said: “Our friendly and experienced team does such a great job of making our diners feel welcome – the service they give really is exceptional - and so we’re delighted that they have received this recognition. But please don’t take my word for it: book a table and see for yourself!”

Storecheckers said: “The service was prompt, polite and professional. I did feel as if my custom was valued. All the assistants were happy to chat and create rapport ... I would be very likely to return based on the customer service and the quality of the food.”

trinitycambridge.co.uk

Café - Winner: Bould Brothers (Round Church Street)

Bould Brothers - winners in the Cambridge BID Awards 2022 (60011835)
Bould Brothers - winners in the Cambridge BID Awards 2022 (60011835)

Recommended by Vogue and Vanity Fair, the Bould Brothers are determined to give each customer a delicious coffee experience. They pack extensive knowledge, training and passion into every cup, drawing on a special group of speciality coffees, the highest quality organic milk and double-filtered water.

Owner Max Bould said: “We’re thrilled to receive this award, which reflects the fact that we’re always trying to improve every part of our business - particularly our customer experience. We have an incredible following of regular customers, because we offer something that’s a bit different to your run-of-the-mill coffee shop or chain.”

Storecheckers said: “The staff member paid full attention to me, which made me feel that I was a valued customer. We had a genuine and very pleasant conversation ... I definitely would return”

bouldbrotherscoffee.co.uk

Independent Business – Fashion, Beauty & Accessories - Winner: Thomas William Gentlemen’s Barber

Thomas Williams Gentlemen's Barber's - - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Cambridge BID (60011865)
Thomas Williams Gentlemen's Barber's - - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Cambridge BID (60011865)

Combining old-fashioned values with modern amenities, customers at this barbershop can enjoy a complimentary drink while choosing from a menu of services that includes everything from a wet shave with hot towels and facial oils, to a traditional haircut, or even a Pashena American Bay Rum head massage.

Thomas Edwards, owner, said: “We want customers to relax back into our comfortable barber’s chair and enjoy the experience, so winning this award shows we’re achieving what we set out to do! Whether you need advice, styling or grooming products, we’re here to help with all your hair and beard care requirements.”

Storecheckers said: “I would want to return as the atmosphere in the shop was happy and friendly. The customers also seemed happy. I was given good, upbeat advice and I was made to feel welcome. This would make me think they would do a good job with my hair if I returned.”

thomas-william.co.uk

Independent Business – Other - Winner: Millers Music

Millers Music - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011849)
Millers Music - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011849)

Specialising in pianos of all types – from secondhand to silent - Millers Music is a treasure trove for parents and pupils looking to choose a piano to buy or for hire. With skilled demonstrators and expert guidance on hand, customers enjoy finding a piano to fit their playing style. The store’s industry-leading rental scheme also covers a range of other instruments.

Owner Simon Pollard said: “Most people will only purchase maybe one or two pianos during their lifetime; our goal is to make that experience as special as possible. This award is a real encouragement as it reflects our belief that music goes beyond the point of purchase and into our dedicated aftercare service too.”

Storecheckers said: “I would definitely recommend this shop to anyone looking to buy or rent a piano. The service was brilliant, and the second-hand range was well stocked. They offered a good warranty on all their products. The staff member seemed really happy to help. They said they prided themselves on their service and I could see why.”

millersmusic.co.uk

National Business – Fashion - Winner: Lululemon

Lululemon - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011851)
Lululemon - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011851)

This technical athletic brand makes clothes for yoga, running and training – and everything in between. They also embrace mindfulness, believing that pushing physical boundaries can build the strength necessary to push through in other aspects of life too. And they prioritise physical, social and mental wellbeing in their community impact grant programmes.

Assistant manager Aurelia Coster said: “Our business is all about helping people to become their best selves, and so it’s fantastic to receive an award that says we are delivering excellent customer service! We value each and every guest and we want them to leave our store feeling good about themselves.”

Storecheckers said: “I had a great experience during this interaction, and I would definitely recommend the shop. The advisor was very professional, attentive, patient and kind with me. They appeared very knowledgeable in regard to the products as well.”

lululemon.co.uk

National Business – Shoes & Accessories - Winner: Dr Martens

Dr Martens - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022 (60011841)
Dr Martens - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022 (60011841)

Much more than just a shoe, the Dr Martens brand is a statement of rebellious self-expression. The simple silhouette was originally designed as a modest work-wear boot, combining durability and comfort with authenticity and an individual sense of style. Dating from 1901, the brand has remained relevant for more than a century.

Elizabeth Ells, store manager, commented: “This is great news! It isn’t the first time we’ve won this award, so it’s great to hear that our customer service is consistently excellent. We treat our customers as individuals and we try to help them find footwear that expresses who they are – whether they’re aged 5 or 55.”

Storecheckers said: “The staff member was attentive and friendly at all times. The service was personable, helpful and professional. I was made to feel valued.”

drmartens.com/uk

National Business – Other - Winner: Molton Brown

Molton Brown - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011853)
Molton Brown - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011853)

Since the brand was first established in South Molton Street, London in 1971, all Molton Brown products have been made in England, using only the best ingredients in exceptional fragrance concentrations. From hand cream to hair masks, customers enjoy browsing a range of collections designed to uplift, unwind or refresh the senses.

Emily Murr, Cambridge store manager, said: “Thank you for this amazing award, which is a credit to our in-store team. We know our products are of high quality – our Royal Warrant from Queen Elizabeth II proved that – but it’s great to get this recognition that our customer service is also excellent. Well done team Cambridge!”

Storecheckers said: “The staff member seemed really happy to help and did concentrate entirely on me throughout my visit …The service was excellent and thorough from start to finish, I could not fault it.”

moltonbrown.co.uk

Professional Business - Winner: Gonville & Caius Conference Office

Gonville & Caius College - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022 (60011843)
Gonville & Caius College - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022 (60011843)

A regular winner across the years, the Gonville & Caius Conference Office hosts meetings and events in modern and traditional college rooms on King’s Parade, in the heart of the city. From weddings to private dining and conferences, their dedicated event management team works hard to combine custom catering and elegant decoration with accommodation options.

Conference and events manager Georgina Millar said: “I’m very proud of our team, who do a wonderful job of looking after our conference delegates and event guests – from initial enquiry through to the successful fruition of each bespoke event. This award reflects our team’s high level of commitment to customer service and their determination to provide a fantastic experience.”

Storecheckers said: “I was incredibly impressed with the staff member's knowledge and commitment to the city and the college. They were thorough and spoke with confidence not only about their location but also about Cambridge and the BID itself, clearly showing their enthusiasm and pride.”

cai.cam.ac.uk/conferences

Leisure / Attraction - Winner: Lockhouse Games

Lockhouse Games - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011855)
Lockhouse Games - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011855)

From their HQ on Regent Street, the team at Lockhouse Games gives customers the chance to save the world from armageddon, become secret agents or explore ancient Egyptian burial chambers! Welcoming students and corporate teams as well as groups of family and friends, these escape rooms are designed to make customers smile and scratch their heads in equal measure.

Paul Chapman, owner, said: “Our customer experience is unique - how many other Mayan Temples can you visit in Cambridge?! We’re delighted to win this award, which recognises how passionate we are about creating an immersive, fun-filled experience for all our customers.”

Storecheckers said: “The staff attitude was really outstanding. The staff member was incredibly enthusiastic and totally appropriate for the venue … I felt that this was an outstanding attraction with excellent customer service.”

lockhouse.co.uk

Market Traders – Joint Winner: The Mac Daddy

The Mac Daddy is a 2022 Cambridge BID Award winner. Picture: Cambridge BID
The Mac Daddy is a 2022 Cambridge BID Award winner. Picture: Cambridge BID

Providing delicious mac ‘n’ cheese on Cambridge Market and at festivals and events around the UK, this award-winning business serves its food from converted cargo-bike kitchens, using 100 per cent biodegradable pots and cutlery. They plant fruit trees in the developing world to offset their carbon footprint and they have virtually zero food waste.

Neil Mackay, owner, commented: “We probably serve the best mac ‘n’ cheese in the UK – come and try it for yourself! This award is brilliant. It shows how much we value our customers and it also demonstrates that it’s possible to give customers a great food experience without compromising our sustainability goals.”

Storecheckers said: “I found the staff member polite and helpful and I really liked the presentation and quality of the food. I was made to feel very valued as a customer.”

themacdaddy.co.uk

Market Traders – Joint Winner: Hallouman

Hallouman is a 2022 Cambridge BID Award winner. Picture: Cambridge BID
Hallouman is a 2022 Cambridge BID Award winner. Picture: Cambridge BID

Enjoy legendary fried halloumi sticks with pomegranate molasses as part of an alfresco lunch at Hallouman on Cambridge Market, or try out their soft corn tacos featuring homemade Mexican mole (moh-lay) sauce. Customers enjoy generous portions at good prices, with all dishes cooked to order using ingredients sourced from local artisan producers.

Owner Cameron Clark said: “It feels great to win this award for the second time! We’re obviously doing something right. We appreciate all of the customers who come to eat our food and we just want to serve them a delicious vegetarian meal. As Autumn arrives, why not try our black bean chilli stew with pumpkin pesto, lemon yoghurt and halloumi?”

Storecheckers said: “The staff member was polite and friendly throughout. They were happy to answer my questions.…built a good rapport with me by interacting positively.”

facebook.com/hallouman

Market Traders – Joint Winner: Quirky & Posh Gifts

Quirky & Posh Gifts is a 2022 Cambridge BID Award winner. Picture: Cambridge BID
Quirky & Posh Gifts is a 2022 Cambridge BID Award winner. Picture: Cambridge BID

Trading on Cambridge’s Sunday market since 1996, this stall offers ethnically-inspired artisan gifts, from hand-painted tea pots to olive wood kitchenware and bicycle-tyre belts. Each gift is unique, and is hand-crafted or painted with care. A complimentary pyrographic engraving service is also available to personalise gifts.

Jayne Collinson, owner, said: “Cambridge market is an amazing place to trade. This is due to its location, its history, its diversity, the local, student, tourist and international visitors and my wonderful trader colleagues and managers. Thanks to everyone that continues to support small businesses.”

Storecheckers said: “I had an outstanding experience both talking about the products and about cats in general. I would return for both the conversation and the items.”

quirkyandposhgifts.com

Overnight Accommodation - Winner: Hotel Du Vin

Hotel Du Vin - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011859)
Hotel Du Vin - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011859)

Located in Trumpington Street, this former university building retains its original character with interesting nooks, exposed brickwork and restored fireplaces. Offering 41 luxurious rooms and suites, each with a monsoon shower or roll-top bath, customers can sample the delights of the Bistro and Cellar Bar or take morning coffee and afternoon tea in the Lounge.

General manager Luke Gallimore commented: “I’d like to thank my team for the tremendous job they do in helping to deliver a fantastic guest experience. Every detail matters, and winning this award for customer service shows that we’re on the right path. I’m also grateful to Cambridge BID for running the mystery shop programme each year.”

Storecheckers said: “The service I received from the reception staff could not be faulted. The outside of the hotel was immaculately clean with all signage complete and illuminated were necessary. The inside of the hotel, toilets and public areas were spotless.”

hotelduvin.com/locations/cambridge/

University B&B - Winner: Christ’s College

Christ's College - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011861)
Christ's College - winners in the Cambridge BID Award 2022. Picture: Richard Marsham (60011861)

One of the oldest and most central of the University of Cambridge colleges, Christ’s College offers single, double and twin accommodation during vacation periods, with en suite or shared bathrooms. Complimentary tea and coffee-making facilities are available in each room, along with free wifi. Check in at the porter’s lodge and leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind.

Martin Spooner, director of college services, said: “Our guests particularly appreciate the stunning architecture of the college, which dates back 500 years, and the chance to enjoy a cooked breakfast in our Upper Hall. I’m delighted to accept this award on behalf of our team, as we work hard to ensure that our guests have a wonderful stay.”

Storecheckers said: “The room and facilities were comfortable and clean and the amenities were in good working order … All staff were smartly dressed and made me feel like a valued customer and that nothing was too much trouble.”

christscollegehospitality.co.uk

Cambridge BID Awards logo (60011837)
Cambridge BID Awards logo (60011837)

Overall Winners (achieving the highest average score across two mystery shop visits)

  • Tabanco
  • Trinity Restaurant
  • Bould Brothers Coffee (Round Church Street)


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