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Wed 26th Feb 2014 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

15 branded Bristol restaurants join forces to offer deals: A total of 15 branded restaurants in the Cabot Circus area of Bristol have joined forces to offer diners a deal. The Come Dine with Cabot campaign offers customers special deals over two early week time periods – the first started on Monday 24 February and lasts until tomorrow (Thursday 27 February), and the second is from Monday 3 March to Thursday 5 March. The brands taking part are: Brasserie Blanc, Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge, Carluccio’s, Coal Grill & Bar, Frankie & Benny’s, Giraffe, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Piccolino, Soho Coffee Co, Studio One Cinema, Tampopo, YO! Sushi and Zizzi. Full details of their offers can be seen on the Cabot Circus website, www.cabotcircus.com, which diners need to visit in order to register. Registered diners receive a Come Dine with Cabot voucher, which they need to show to the restaurant where they want to eat, either in printed form or electronically on their smart phone. The restaurants are all offering a deal of some kind from 5pm onwards on the days of the promotion. In Newcastle, more than 60 restaurants work together to take part in Restaurant Week twice a year, producing a 43% uplift in sales last year. Sean Bullick, chief executive of the local organising agency NE1, said: “By working together the restaurant industry has helped grow the market and stimulate trade.”

Industry News:

Casual Dining show opens today: The Casual Dining show opens today at the Business Design Centre in London at 10am. The two-day event is set to welcome thousands of top buyers and senior decision makers from across the £6.7bn casual dining sector. Many of the country’s biggest pub groups and branded restaurant chains will be in attendance, and nearly a third of all pre-registered visitors to date (30%) represent companies whose corporate spend is in excess of £500,000 (a further 22% report over £100,000). Speakers and subjects in the free Casual Dining Keynote Theatre include: Peter Backman, managing director of Horizons, talking on “Casual Dining – Success in a crowded market”; Jens Hofma, chief executive of Pizza Hut, talking on “Restaurants: Durability and Scalability – Lessons learnt by 40 years of operating”; Alex Reilley, managing director of Loungers, talking on “Mastering the off-pitch site”; Scott Elliott, director at CGA Peach, talking on “Craft beer, cocktails and wine: casual dining gets the drinks in”; and Mark McCulloch, founder of Spectacular Marketing, talking on “Marketing like your life depends on it”.

O2 Wi-Fi hits ten million customer milestone: Almost six million people signed up to O2 Wi-Fi last year to hit the ten million customer milestone. O2 Wi-Fi launched its first hotspot in April 2011. The operator says this makes it the UK’s fastest growing Wi-Fi operator as measured by growth in registered users. More than half of these customers signed up to the service last year, with 500,000 new registrations a month, or one every six seconds. Partners include McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Costa Coffee, Fuller Smith & Turner and Mitchells & Butlers.

Romford pub and clubs start checking fingerprints: Customers’ fingerprints are being taken and stored by pubs and clubs in Romford, Essex to verify ages and identities and keep track of potential troublemakers. Eight Romford businesses are using a Clubscan machine to help curb alcohol-fuelled violence. Customers need to provide ID and fingerprints before gaining late-night entry to bars. The Wetherspoon’s pub The Moon and Stars in South Street, Romford began using the device last weekend.

France adds 27th three-Michelin-star restaurant: A restaurant in the Champagne region has become the 27th restaurant in France to be inducted into the exclusive three-Michelin-star club. L’Assiette Champenoise, run by chef Arnaud Lallement, has been promoted from two to three-star status in the latest Michelin guide for France 2014, an outcome that was leaked a week before and confirmed in an announcement on 24 Feb. The 2014 edition has also added six new two-star restaurants including Il Cortile, led by the first Italian chef in France to be awarded two stars. Inspectors also gave two stars to chef Akrame Benallal, for his eponymously named restaurant Akrame in Paris.

Russell Norman mentors Coventry fusion restaurant tonight: Tonight’s edition of Restaurant Man on BBC Two at 8pm will see restaurateur Russell Norman mentor Desi Fusion, based in Warwick Row, Coventry. The restaurant belongs to Nahida Mahmood, 52, a mother of ten, who decided to set up the restaurant after concerns over job security in her role with Coventry Council.

McDonald’s looks at serving breakfast later: McDonald’s is in the early stages in the United States of looking at whether it can serve breakfast after 10.30 am. The company has traditionally considered offering both the breakfast and lunch menu logistically impossible, given the limited kitchen spaces in its restaurants. Now industry sources report the company is revisiting the issue, as coveted customers in their 20s and 30s adopt later and varied eating times.

Survey finds workers prepared to pay more for quality high street coffee: A new survey from United Coffee UK & Ireland which polled more than 1,000 workers who regularly drink coffee has found that in-house caterers are losing 31% of total sales of coffee to the high street. Over half of the consumers (53%) who regularly leave the workplace to buy coffee said they did so because they were looking for “quality”. The food offer alongside the coffee was also mentioned as a reason. Consumers also expected to pay 50% more on the high street for a cup than in-house, which they wanted for just £1.41 a cup.

Restaurant insolvencies on the increase: The number of restaurants going out of business in the UK is on the increase. Despite the wider economic recovery, research by accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy LLP has shown that many restaurants are struggling to attract customers because wages have yet to catch up with the economic recovery. It also said flooding is likely to have hit businesses after Christmas. Figures show that restaurant closures jumped from 170 to 183 in the last three months of 2013. There were also 167 restaurant insolvencies in the three months running up to New Year’s Eve – an increase of 9% from the previous three months. Partner Anthony Cork said: “With the economy just returning to form, individuals may not yet be enjoying the benefits of growth. It may take a while before improved consumer confidence is firmly established and spending in restaurants increases.”

Company News:

McMullen offers pub(s) – no capital required: McMullen & Sons, the family brewer based in Hertford, is looking for successful chefs and budding entrepreneurs to run one of its most prestigious pubs without investing any capital, or paying any rent, utilities or rates. The Stag, a newly refurbished gastro pub in Heronsgate, near Chorleywood, south-west Hertfordshire, has recently become available as a result of personal commitments, and is on offer under McMullen’s Pub Operators (Franchise) Agreement with no capital required. Since the pub’s £120,000 refurbishment, it has proved hugely profitable, trading at around £9,000 a week, with sales more than doubled in the first year, and up 12% so far this year. McMullen is also looking for someone with a strong food background to become the tenant of the Blue Anchor, in St Albans. The pub was previously run by celebrity chef Paul Bloxham, and McMullen is looking to substantially refurbish the kitchen facilities with the right partner. Again, interested parties do not necessarily have to provide considerable capital, but must possess the right skills and attitude. Gavin Mansfield, tenant operations manager at McMullen, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a chef who would like to run their own pub but simply has not been given the chance for whatever reasons. The Stag has proved incredibly profitable since its refurbishment, and is sure to continue this success with the right operator. At McMullen, we are looking to work with people who have the right aptitude and ability, not simply the right bank balance.”

M&B plans Vintage Inns new-build pub in Middlesbrough suburb: Mitchells & Butlers is planning to submit an application for a new-build Vintage Inns, its destination country pub brand, on the Grey Towers Farm development at Nunthorpe, on the outskirts of Middlesbrough. The new pub, to be called the Grey Towers, will be close to 295 homes currently being erected by a developer. If built, the pub would be the first in Nuneaton, after the steel magnate Sir Arthur Dorman, who played a significant part in the planning of Nunthorpe and lived in Grey Towers mansion until his death in 1931, imposed covenants on land he owned in the area including one that decreed no pubs were allowed. Middlesbrough Council said it was “informally” aware of the covenant. However, if a covenant was in place, “it would not be a planning consideration” if an application were to be submitted, the council said. There are currently around 200 pubs under the Vintage Inns brand.

Yummy Pub Company – we were up 18% in January: The four-strong Yummy Pub Company, led by Tim Foster and Anthony Pender, has reported the “best sales results of the past six years” in January with like-for-likes up 18%. Foster said: “With the Grove Ferry under water since Christmas Eve, that’s not bad going. The star of the sites is once again the Somers Town [in King’s Cross], trading at 29% up, and it will smash that number as February comes to a close. Obviously, last year it was snowing right now, with The Wiremill and Grove Ferry having to close for a number of days, so February is looking to match, at 18% up, and we intend to deliver big-time in March with a fast start on the month, as I think the danger of snow has now passed.”

Crown Carveries offers £3 voucher to customers providing feedback about their eating habits: Crown Carveries, Mitchells & Butlers’ 115-strong budget carvery brand, has offered customers a voucher for £3 against their next meal in return for providing information. The brand has the highest number of meals sold per week across the M&B brands portfolio but lost 20% of its volumes last year after pushing its cheapest main course meal to £4.19. The company is now offering hand-battered fish or pie of the day, from £3.79 with unlimited vegetables and unlimited chips, and a saver carvery or sausages for £3.69. Bottomless ice cream Monday to Saturday is £1.50 extra.

Orchid Pub Company HR head steps down: Orchid Pub Company’s head of human resources, Nina Marshall, has stepped down. She joined the company when it was founded in 2006 after previously working at Spirit. Marshall said: “I’d like to thank all the people who work hard in our pubs, to the managers that provide the best hospitality, to the whole of the Orchid office for being wonderful colleagues, to the best HR team ever for their support and to [commercial director] Simon Dodd for being a great boss. And finally, a huge thank-you to [chief executive] Rufus Hall for creating this incredible company with brilliant pubs, and most importantly, amazing people.”

The Sun – Johnny Depp looking to buy London pub: The Sun has reported that actor Johnny Depp is looking to buy a pub in London that he can turn into a live venue. “It’ll be the kind of place for up-and-coming bands and occasionally a big name act will do a low-key gig,” a source told The Sun. Depp is said to be looking at venues in the Islington and Shepherd’s Bush areas of London. “It’s always been Johnny’s dream to have a boozer in London which puts on live music,” the source claimed.

Sandwich chain Wrap it Up! plans 50 sites within five years: Tayub Mushtaq, chief executive of the sandwich chain Wrap it Up!, is eyeing expansion to 50 sites within five years. Wrap it Up! now operates 11 outlets across the City and Central London and plans to open several more over the coming year. Mushtaq said: “Our plan is to get to 50 over the next three to five years, probably more. Shareholders will want an exit. Ideally we’d be looking at a listing on AIM in a few years’ time or we could look at a trade sale. Our ultimate aim is for kids to say, ‘Let’s go to Wrap It Up! rather than McDonald’s.’ McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway – they all started somewhere.” Mushtaq joined Wrap it Up! as its first franchisee in 2010 and became managing director of the company in October 2012. As the franchisee of the Broadgate store in the City, he increased sales from £300 a day to £1,500 a day in just four months.

City Pub Company re-opens Bath site: City Pub Company, the EIS vehicle headed by Clive Watson, has re-opened the Cork pub in Bath. The venue includes a refurbished vaults area downstairs. The freehold of the site was acquired in 2012 for £2.72m from a private vendor through agent GVA Humberts. The next refurbished site for City is expected to be the Georgian House in Norwich, which is due to re-open in April.

BrewDog wins Liverpool licence despite police opposition: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog won a licence to open in Liverpool yesterday, even though Merseyside Police and trading standards officers had opposed the brewer’s plans to open a bar on Colquitt Street in the city centre. A police spokesman, recommending refusal, said: “We consider that the nature of the proposed operation will add to the cumulative impact in that area and should be refused.” Anthony Lyons, representing BrewDog, said the company had consulted with residents living by the old Manolis Yard site and explained how its business proposal was different to other bars and clubs, which had led to only one objection from a tenant. He said BrewDog was asking for a licence to serve beer until midnight and close at 12.30pm, but not to play any live or recorded music. Lyons added: “The mission of BrewDog is one of education and transformation. It’s not about ‘drink as much as you can get down your throat’ – it’s about appreciating a fine craft beer like you would a fine wine. It’s largely seated. It’s the antithesis of where guys go and stand, it’s not the mini-dress, the baseball hat, it’s completely the opposite of that.”

County Londonderry club shuts for transformation into ‘one of Ireland’s top clubs’: The dual-scene nightclub venue Dorman’s and The Opera in Magherafelt, County Londonderry, is set to be transformed into what the owners say will be “one of Ireland’s leading clubs”. Owners Henry and Theresa McGlone say they have commissioned architects who have designed clubs in cities around the world, including New York and Dubai. The Opera, opened in 1998, has collected a host of awards over the past 15 years. The pub closed its doors at the weekend ahead of the refurbishment. It is expected to reopen by the early summer. A statement from Dorman’s read: “The Opera will be transformed into one of Irelands best entertainment venues!”

Covent Garden’s Porterhouse signs up to Orderella app: Orderella, the mobile ordering app that allows its customers to order and pay for drinks and food with their phone, has launched at the Porterhouse in Covent Garden, the largest bar in London. The launch coincides with the bar’s Festival of Rugby 2014, allowing supporters to order beers throughout the game without having to leave their seat. Orderella claims to be well-suited to a large bar like the Porterhouse, which is split over 12 levels. The company says its app maximises sales opportunities from customers in the different areas of the bar, while also speeding up transaction times by up to 90 seconds compared to a card transaction, freeing up staff to serve more patrons. Dennis Collet, Orderella’s chief executive, said: “The Porterhouse is the latest London site to go live with Orderella, and we expect it to prove incredibly popular. It is perfect for rugby fans enjoying this year’s Six Nations, allowing them to try the finest stout in the world while they cheer on their team, without having to leave their seat.”

Mad O’Rourke’s Pie Factory seeks to expand: The original Mad O’Rourke’s Pie Factory pub in Tipton in the West Midlands is seeking permission to expand to cope with soaring customer demand. The business was started by Irishman Colm O’Rourke, who grew the Mad O’Rourke’s chain to 21 pubs across the Midlands before selling his Little Pub Company to Usher’s of Trowbridge in 1998 for £7m. O’Rourke’s former partner, Peter Towler, bought the Pie Factory at Tipton back from Usher’s in 2000 and added two more outlets, in Wordsley and Gornal in the Black Country, before the business went into administration in 2011. However, Towler, 54, later bought back the Tipton pub, and has continued to run it as Mad O’Rourke’s. He told the Wolverhampton Express and Star that the pub was regularly serving 250 covers on a Saturday night and he wanted to stop “turning away as many customers as we are serving”. He said: “The Tipton pub has always been the Mad O’Rourke’s flagship. Fortunately people have supported us and we can only hope to repay that by getting more people in – the more, the merrier, I always say.” The £65,000 scheme to expand the pub’s dining area, which is now in front of planners at Sandwell Council, would create around 30 more seats. The pub is famous for its Desperate Dan 4lb steak and kidney pie. Diners are issued with a “wimp certificate” if they fail to polish it off after ordering it.

Costa Coffee franchisee moves into profit: The Costa Coffee franchisee Island Hotels Group in Malta turned a pre-tax loss of €834,000 (£687,000) into a profit of €445,000 in the financial year ended October 31. The group announced last week that through its investment in Buttigieg Holdings, it had won an international tender for the exclusive rights to open Costa Coffee outlets in Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands. However, the group requires cash for a number of projects, including the upgrading of its existing hotels and the €80m development of the Hal Ferh holiday village in Malta, to be rebranded as The Oasis at Golden Sands. The group said efforts to raise fresh equity were not proving easy in the extremely difficult international market conditions, prompting it to plan a bond issue on the local market. In a company announcement, the group said that the turnaround in pre-tax profit came on the back of increased revenue of €35.3m, up from €33m the previous year.

Indian culture influences new cocktail menu at Slug & Lettuce: Indian culture has influenced a new cocktail menu at Stonegate Pub Company’s Slug & Lettuce brand. Nicola Stuart, Stonegate’s marketing manager said: “We decided to complement our popular curry dishes by adding a limited-time-only assortment of exotic drinks to our cocktail menu. We have experimented with new ingredients, including coriander leaves, and have drawn our inspiration from Indian food, culture, music and, of course, the Indian film industry, Bollywood.” Guests can choose from six drinks including Green Tea Martini, the Bombay Fruit Mix, a blend of Passoa, Bombay Sapphire, pineapple juice and passion fruit, and the Kiwi Sutra, a blend of Smirnoff Apple, elderflower cordial, sugar syrup and kiwi puree. The cocktail menu will be available until Tuesday 6 May.

Ascot Inns to re-open Egham pub after £350,000 co-investment with Punch: Ascot Inns is to re-open the Red Lion in Egham, Surrey, after a £350,000 co-investment with Punch Taverns. The pub will offer an extended drinks range which includes 20 craft and real ales as well as draught lagers and ciders and an extensive wine list. A new kitchen will be added and a new food menu introduced featuring classic British pub dishes, all home-made with locally sourced ingredients. Vince Healy, managing director of Ascot Inns, said: “This is our fifth pub and we took the opportunity to work with Punch Taverns as we could see the Red Lion’s potential and wanted to maximise the pub’s prominent position within Egham.” 

Top TripAdvisor restaurant in Liverpool aims for Michelin star: A nine-month-old Indian restaurant in Liverpool voted the top eaterie on Merseyside by TripAdvisor contributors says it wants to win a Michelin star within the next three years. The restaurant has a 94% “recommend” rating on TripAdvisor, with 221 out of 259 reviewers rating it “excellent”. The kitchen claims to have some of the best trained chefs from India, with head chef Usman Ali having worked with celebrity chef Raymond Blanc. Taj Khuddus, restaurant manager at Yukti, in Prescot Road, Old Swan, Liverpool, said of the TripAdvisor accolade: “It’s a fantastic moment. We have put lots of effort in and the chefs and staff have worked very hard on the food preparation and the service that we offer. We use high-quality Indian spices and we use the finest Welsh lamb and Norfolk-farmed chicken. And we cook with top quality charcoal to give the meat a smoky flavour. We want to get better and better and we are aiming for a Michelin star within three years. We want to step up and that means that we will get more catering staff in to offer more superb dishes to our customers.”

Agent – Heathrow runway stasis risks area falling behind European competitors: Hotel developments around Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris airports are enjoying a growth spurt while the decision on a third runway at London Heathrow has caused stasis in the development of its local hotel economy, according to a new report from Europe’s leading hotel property adviser, Christie + Co, and STR Global, the leading data benchmarking company for the hotel sector. Andreas Scriven, Christie + Co’s international managing director, suggested that while panic is some time away, the competitive threat to Heathrow’s dominance and the instability of its hotel pipeline was very real. He said: “London Heathrow Airport is operating at or close to capacity. The political dithering over the provision of a third runway at the airport, or even the development of further UK airport capacity away from Heathrow, is having a very real effect on the longer term prospects for the local hotel market. While the threat to existing hotel supply is minimal, the majority of development remains on hold, is speculative or lacks the necessary planning permission.”

Nando’s in Hove seeks to expand delivery times: The Nando’s outlet in Hove, Sussex, is seeking to join a brand trial of expanded delivery times. The site, on Goldstone Retail Park in Old Shoreham Road, is looking to amend a previous application, so that deliveries can be made on Saturdays between 8am and 6pm. Current permission only allows Saturday deliveries between 9am and noon. Eighteen residents have signed a petition against the increased delivery times, claiming the move would increase noise disturbance at the site, while they are also unhappy about the smell of cooking.

Lucia Wine Bar expands to three outlets: Lucia Wine Bar and Grill, run by Osman Doganozu and Ozgur Akgul, is opening a third venue in Yorkshire after acquiring the site of a former Italian restaurant, Joe Rigatoni, on Ripon Road in Harrogate. Lucia Wine Bar and Grill, which bought the building off an asking price of £1.25m from owner Julie Abbott, who had owned and operated it since 2005, plans to open in the spring and is currently hiring staff for all positions. It currently employs 75 people at its restaurants in York and Beverley. The Leeds-based business transfer agent Ernest Wilson handled the sale. In early 2013, Ernest Wilson also handled the letting of the lower ground floor restaurant in the building to a 35-seater Japanese bar and restaurant, Kaiten Sushi.

Hotel and spa sold out of administration off a £6.5m guide price: The 39-bedroom Greenwoods Hotel and Spa, near Chelmsford, Essex, has been sold out of administration, off a guide price of £6.5m. Accountants Smith & Williamson took over the running of the hotel after it fell into administration in September 2013. Savills handled the sale of the hotel to an offshore hotel investor. The hotel has an 80-cover restaurant and a busy events business based around a licensed marquee in the gardens. In the last accounts, the hotel recorded a turnover of £3m with a profit of £17,000.

Breweries revive hopless ‘gruit’ ales: Breweries in Yorkshire and Scotland have each announced new brews that go back 700 years to the days when ales were made before hops. The Ilkley Brewery and the Pilot brewery in Leith, Edinburgh are both making a gruit ale, flavoured with herbs such as scurvy grass, yarrow and bog myrtle. The ale from the Pilot brewery, which opened in Leith late last year, has been brewed at the request of the Vintage bar and restaurant in Leith to celebrate its first anniversary. The restaurant has been using foraged food in its seasonal menus, and it supplied the brewery with foraged ingredients for the ale – scurvy grass (a bitter herb with a wasabi/horseradish kick, used historically to brew “scurvy ale” and taken aboard ships for its high vitamin C content); laver, a type of seaweed; crab apples; black lovage; sea buckthorn; and juniper branches. The Ilkley brewery’s gruit ale, called Doctor’s Orders, uses a recipe put together by beer sommelier Jane Peyton containing rosemary, yarrow, sage, bog myrtle, heather flowers and heather foraged from Ilkley Moor. It also includes six malts, Maris Otter extra pale, oats (6%), crystal, chocolate, brown and smoked, and a small amount of Fuggles hops, for preservative purposes. Luke Raven, sales and marketing manager at Ilkley Brewery, said: “Jane’s extensive knowledge of beer history and culture never ceases to amaze us so it was great to tap into her expertise and create Doctor’s Orders. The beer is delicious. The fragrant mixture of gruit herbs and heather from Ilkley Moor really packs a punch and yet it’s a beer you could happily enjoy with a Sunday roast or pheasant.”

Enterprise Inns to hold six roadshow events for its 6,000 licensees: Enterprise Inns is to hold six roadshow events for its 6,000 licensees this spring. Taking place from 20 March to 15 April, the programme is timed before the key trading periods of Easter, the Spring Bank Holidays and the 2014 World Cup. Enterprise’s head of pub marketing, Robert Dale, said: “The shows are free to attend and will be a brilliant boost to a publican’s business. They will be able to take advantage of exclusive event-only deals, sample the latest products and services and meet key suppliers from all business sectors.” More than 125 suppliers will be attending each show, including drinks suppliers such as Heineken, Molson Coors, Carlsberg and Crown Cellars and gaming, food and other suppliers such as Brakes, Sky and Casio. In 2013, more than 1,200 pub licensees attended and more than 100 suppliers exhibited across the series. The programme is as follows with all shows running from 10am to 4pm: Olympia Central, London W14 – Thursday 20 March; NEC Pavilion, Birmingham – Tuesday 25 March; Bolton Arena, Bolton – Thursday 27 March; Centenary Pavilion, Leeds United FC, Leeds – Tuesday 1 April; Sandown Park New, Esher – Tuesday 8 April, and UWE Exhibition Centre New, Bristol – Tuesday 15 April.

Whitcomb family places Petworth freehold on the market: Richard Whitcomb has instructed the agent Fleurets to sell the family’s freehold pub, The Welldiggers Arms, near Petworth in West Sussex with an asking price of £650,000. The pub has been in the family for 67 years and was taken over by Richard Whitcomb in July 2012 after the death of his father, Ted Whitcomb, a well-known character in the area. Richard has recently obtained planning permission for a complete refurbishment of the pub. He said: “The planning permission would extend the property to provide not only much improved facilities but also good quality letting accommodation. The pub is in need of an upgrade and the area, being close to so many attractions, is crying out for a quality pub or restaurant and particularly B&B accommodation, as there is little available in the area. We hope this will attract a really good operator who can take advantage of this unique location.”

Seafood Pub Co opens fifth venue in three years: The Seafood Pub Company is spending £500,000 refurbishing The Barley Mow in the Pendle village of Barley, Lancashire, which will be its fifth pub in less than three years when it opens in the spring. The Barley Mow will be the first of the company’s pubs to offer accommodation, something it says that could be rolled out to the other sites. Managing director Joycelyn Neve said: “We’re proud of our name for great food, great service, great surroundings, the awards we’ve won and the current listing in the new Good Food Guide. But The Barley Mow will have a different identity and present a different kind of ‘wow’ factor. It will be a village local for Pendle people and Pendle visitors – ideal for family meals and drinks with friends in an atmosphere of open fires and cosy corners.” The Seafood Pub Company was founded in 2011 by Neve, her businessman father Chris and executive chef Antony Shirley. Its other pubs include The Oyster and Otter in Blackburn and The Farmers Arms at Great Eccleston on the Fylde.

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