Star Pubs & Bars is set to invest more than £250,000 in helping its licensees to develop their food offerings over the next 12 months.
It marks the start of the second half of a two-year programme that has so far seen the proportion of pubs and bars selling food within the estate rise to 74%.
The company, part of Heineken UK, made the commitment this month at an event held to increase the food development skills of its business development managers and management team.
As well as promising to continue with existing food training for bar staff and chefs (pictured), further initiatives in this area, such as kitchen staff recruitment support, will be introduced over the next year to help tackle the industry skills shortage.
Star Pubs & Bars has also launched special pricing agreements for Star licensees with four national food suppliers as well as a modern back-bar food support guide for bars and pubs that have no kitchen or close their kitchens at quieter times of day.
The supplier agreements were created in response to licensee requests for help on pricing and are designed to enable licensees to sell food at a competitive retail price while retaining healthy profits. Negotiated using Heineken’s buying power, all of the savings go directly to licensees.
National suppliers have been appointed in four areas to ensure quality as well as keen prices. They include Russell Hume butchers, Direct Seafood, Nisbets for consumables and Brakes for frozen and ambient grocery.
The new back-bar food support guide addresses the premiumisation of the eating-out sector. It encourages licensees to move away from lower-quality microwaved pizzas, burgers and pies to more gourmet snacks and dishes using fresh ingredients from olive and crisp boards to cheese boards and ploughman’s lunches with a contemporary twist. The guide includes all angles of selling food without a kitchen, from equipment to presentation as well as 60 new menu ideas.
Lawson Mountstevens, managing director Star Pubs & Bars, said: “We’re focused on long-term sustainable leased pub businesses, and having multiple income streams such as food is key.
“We want to give our licensees the very best support in this area. Our package now spans fully funded residential cookery courses for licensees and staff workshops to financing kitchen fixtures and fittings.
“We’re continuing to upskill our BDMs so they can provide expertise in this specialist area and using outside chef consultants to give licensees the very best advice.”