Heineken is on target to invest up to £30million in upgrading its Star Pubs & Bars estate by the end of 2015 – a 60% increase on last year’s investments.
Working with lessees, it will have included 117 major refurbishments around the UK with an average spend of £175,000. By the end of the year, £10million will have been spent working with multiple operators on 51 major projects, compared to £5million on 28 projects in 2014.
Projects completed so far this year include The Captain Cook (pictured) in Fulham, London, which underwent a joint £500,000 refurbishment with multiple operator Whiskey Whiskey Tango.
The capex programme will have benefited 25% of the company’s 1,050 bars and pubs. Most of the refurbishments focus on improving the food offering – part of Star Pubs & Bars’ ambition that 50% of sales in all its sites will come from food by 2020. In addition, there will be over 100 external signage and redecoration schemes.
Star Pubs & Bars works with lessees to bring new customers in for different occasions throughout the day, from breakfast through to dinner, for coffee and wifi, or for events and entertainment such as watching live sport. It is introducing flexible zones to allow bars and pubs to cater for private dining, parties and meetings, as well as provide additional space for customers at peak trading times.
Chris Jowsey, trading director of Star Pubs & Bars, said: “This investment is a reflection of the continued confidence we have in our pubs and our operators. Lessees are seeing returns on investment of over 31% on capex projects and their demand for and our commitment to invest in them is evidence of confidence on both sides in the pub market and the economy as a whole.
“We’re leasing more pubs to multiple operators than ever before, with 60% of leases in the first half of this year in this category, double the number two years ago. This is in part due to the level of funding Star is able to provide as multiples don’t have to tie up their capital allowing them to expand more quickly.”