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Mon 12th Jun 2023 - Exclusive: Brasserie Bar Co becomes the Heartwood Collection as it targets further freehold growth
Exclusive – Brasserie Bar Co becomes the Heartwood Collection as it targets further freehold growth, secures first site with rooms: Brasserie Bar Co, the Alchemy Partners-backed business, has become the Heartwood Collection, which the business said reflects its “ambitious plan” for growth in freehold premium pubs and pubs with rooms – a market it believes is currently underserved in the UK, Propel has learned. The company, which currently operates 20 pubs and 14 Brasserie Blanc restaurants across the UK, is on track to grow to 61 sites and up to 500 bedrooms by 2027. This will see the creation of a further 1,500 jobs, taking the total number of Heartwood employees to 2,700. It said progress is already well under way to reach its target, with 11 freehold pubs acquired and a further five under offer, including 120 rooms, that are close to completion. The move comes as the Richard Ferrier-led business exchanges on its first site with rooms, The White Hart in Lewes, East Sussex, which has 23 bedrooms. Propel understands that the company has exchanged on a further two sites with rooms, in Surrey Hills and Sussex. On the name change, the company said it “articulates both the group’s strong foundations and ambitious growth plans”. As part of the change, the company’s pub business White Brasserie Co will become Heartwood Inns on 6 July. It said the name comes from the oldest and innermost core of a tree, which is “as strong as steel and provides the structure from which it can grow and thrive”. The business said it will continue to prioritise the acquisition of “atmospheric freehold properties – especially those where there is scope to refurbish or bring back to life”. It will also continue to be led by Mark Derry as chairman and Ferrier as managing director. At the same time, Raymond Blanc will continue his role of directing its menu evolution, including the “quality of sourcing and the development of outstanding people”. In terms of current trading, the business is understood to be showing positive covers and spend-per-head growth. As previously revealed by Propel, the group’s next site – the Black Swan in Henley in Arden, Warwickshire – is due to open in August. The inn will have 120 restaurant seats, 60 seats in the bar and a 100-seat garden. It will benefit from a major extension and will create 60 jobs in the area. In addition, the business has confirmed the acquisition of the former George Evelyn pub in Long Ditton, Surrey. This is currently in planning and is due to open before the end of 2023. In regards to the White Hart in Lewes, the business intends to fully refurbish the 16th century coaching inn, with a new orangery overlooking the South Downs plus 23 rooms and suites. Heartwood anticipates it will have 150 rooms in the business by June 2024. Derry said: “As Heartwood Collection, our offer will be grounded in a winning combination of serving premium quality food in atmospheric pubs. More than this, we see real opportunity to leverage our hospitality expertise and become a significant operator of pubs-with-rooms, filling that current gap in the market for memorable boutique stays – at the right price. This is the right time for us to make this change. Our new name reflects not only the business we are today, but it underlines the ambition we have to become a leading freehold pub business of real scale. With the ongoing support of our new owners Alchemy, we will continue to target the opening of new sites, and I look forward to bringing Heartwood’s pub offer to new towns and local communities throughout the UK.” Ferrier said: “Having experienced a difficult period of not being able to visit their favourite pubs and restaurants during the pandemic, the British public has emerged with a strong desire to eat, drink and take time away in ways that offer quality, reliability and value. It is against this backdrop that we are becoming the Heartwood Collection. We have a proven and attractive pub offer underpinned by skilled-chefs and warm hospitality. It is an offer that our guests love, and in Heartwood Collection, we have a clear platform to achieve accelerated growth in the years ahead. We are already making good progress on growing our pipeline of new sites and we look forward to welcoming regular and new guests through our doors – as well as welcoming new colleagues to the pubs we open.” Brasserie Bar Co features in the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, the latest edition of which was sent to Premium subscribers on Friday, 9 June. Its turnover of £22,516,000 is the 259th highest in the database. The Blue Book ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription.

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