NEXT month, Bendigo diners will have the chance to nominate their favourite cafes, pubs and restaurants for this year's highly coveted Golden Plate Awards.
A judging panel of industry experts will dine incognito at selected eateries throughout the year, and winners will be announced in October.
The Brougham Arms Hotel understands the benefits the awards can bring.
It hasn't had a quiet moment since it was awarded five Golden Plates in October, with revenue increasing by 20 per cent and the hotel's restaurant being booked out nearly every night.
Owner Scott Macumber said the awards had made an incredible difference to his business.
"Normally there's a lull in January and February but we've continued on," Mr Macumber said.
"That was the first time we'd entered into a competition like that.
"It's fantastic to have people come in and analyse the business for the benefit of the business."
The Golden Plate Awards were established eleven years ago but have only been running in Bendigo since 2012.
They were created by Maxim Public Relations as a means of providing regional eateries with increased marketing opportunities, with eateries in Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat competing for accolades.
Golden Plate Awards project manager Pam Jewson said people who wanted to nominate an eatery should fill out a nomination form at www.goldenplateawards.com.au in a couple of weeks.
She said many of last year's winners went on to have write-ups in the Melbourne media, which drew in tourist numbers.
"There are great incentives," she said.
Scott Macumber said he would recommend all local restaurants and cafes sign up to the awards.
"Any business owner who doesn't go in it is mad or kidding themselves," he said.
"It gives you a great opportunity to show off your business and what you can do."
Mr Macumber is now renovating the hotel's lounge and dining area on the advice of the judging panel.
Renovations will be completed in May.