Shop of the Year

What is happening?

Shop of the Year 2018

May 21: our panel has now reduced the long-list to a short-list of 42 shops over 4 categories. These entrants will now have at least two judging visits. The first will be a mystery shop to assess customer service, merchandising and other key retail discipline and the second focussing on the food & drink offer, as well as a more in-depth chat on the business. This second visit will be announced. All visits will take place during June and July.

All entrants will hear more from us in August with an awards presentation on September 20 in London, SE1.

What is Shop of the Year?

Shop of the Year is an accreditation that recognises and promotes retail excellence. Independent retailers from all over the UK and Ireland will compete to win these highly coveted awards, covering the key areas of retail skills, food know-how and operations.

Why is Shop of the Year different to other awards?

We have 35 years of experience working with small businesses, deli people, cheesemongers, farm shops and grocers. We’ve been putting a spotlight on them, through Shop of the Year, for quite some time too. The Guild understands what makes a successful retailer and SotY will celebrate the wonderful things small shops and independent retailers are achieving. This year sees the award scheme expand and improve. We have additional retail categories and an even more robust judging procedure.

Why enter?

Each retailer will be asked to complete a simple entry form and submit supporting evidence on why you should be considered. Our panel of judges, selected for their genuine food retail experience, will then assess the entry, creating a shortlist of shops that will be mystery shopped by Shopper Anonymous to look at customer service, merchandising and sales skills. On a separate visit, the shop will be assessed by one of our food retail judges to measure the food knowledge, expertise and range and to delve deeper into the business. This visit will be announced, and the retailer will know the judge is visiting and be able to prepare. Any retailer shortlisted will receive constructive feedback to help them improve or, simply to give an enormous pat on the back to their team.

Shop of the Year is free to enter. All entries must be received by 24 April 2018.

Watch what our previous winners have to say about Shop of the Year below.

Shop of the Year judges

How to enter

Shop of the Year will give awards in up to six categories in 2018:

  1. Deli
  2. Farm shop, garden centre with food hall
  3. Specialist cheese shop
  4. Grocer, village or community shop
  5. Retail Hero
  6. Newcomer of the Year (to be awarded to any entrant in categories 1-4 who has been trading less than 24 months)

Each retailer must complete a simple entry form and submit supporting evidence on why you should be considered.

As part of your entry form, you will be asked to choose a category that best fits your business out of:

  1. Deli
  2. Farm shop, garden centre with food hall
  3. Specialist cheese shop
  4. Grocer, village or community shop

Entry is limited to one category per business, but in addition to entering your company, you may also nominate a member of your team to be the Shop of the Year Retail Hero.

The award for Newcomer of the Year will be awarded at the discretion of the judges to a shop who has entered into categories 1-4.

Enter your business into Shop of the Year (deadline 24 April) >>

Nominate your team member for Retail Hero (deadline 24 April) >>

2017 Shop of the Year

The Guild of Fine Food has also been supporting independent retailers through Shop of the Year for many years.

The 2017 competition was sponsored by Hotel Indigo and supported by the readers of delicious magazine our judges mystery shop and assess a shortlist of the finest food shops every year. Hear about the 2017 winners below.

Useful downloads & press

Press releases from previous years are available in our Press Room. For further press enquiries, please contact Amy Brice or Tortie Farrand.

Interested in sponsoring Shop of the Year? Click here

Key timings for 2018

11 February 2018

Open for entry

24 April 2018

Extended deadline for entry

June/July 2018

First round anonymous judging

August/Sept 2018

Second round announced judging

late Sept/early Oct 2018

Winners announced


  • Le Gruyère AOP
  • Petty Wood
  • delicious.
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