Star Pubs & Bars to invest £18.5 million in its pub and bar estate.

Star Pubs & Bars is to invest £18.5 million in its pub and bar estate in 2014, the biggest programme of capital expenditure the estate has ever received.

A sixth of the company’s 1300 pubs are set to benefit from the programme, which will include 60 to 70 major refurbishments with an average spend of £135,000 as well as over 100 external signage and redecoration schemes.

The development of food will be a common feature of the projects, furthering the company’s ambition for every pub in the estate to serve food, and for food to account for 50% of sales by 2020.

Wi-Fi and superb coffee will be added at every major project site and HEINEKEN’s new Smart Dispense system will be installed to maximise beer quality. Lessees will also benefit from three days of coaching, support and staff training tailored to their specific requirements to ensure a smooth, successful relaunch of their pub.

Lawson Mountstevens, UK Sales Managing Director, On Trade, HEINEKEN, says, “The scale of the investment is testimony to the strong track record of Star Pubs & Bars at developing pubs and generating good returns for lessees as well as to the keenness of many lessees to invest. By accelerating investment all parties are able to benefit earlier. Customer’s expectations are increasing all the time and they are looking for a great experience whenever they go out; the pub’s design, food and drink and service all have to be right. This is especially true when customers have less disposable income, as they want real quality when they do spend their money. HEINEKEN and Star Pubs & Bars are committed to the long-term future of the great British pub. Continued investment is fundamental to this commitment, enabling us to meet and exceed customer expectations as well as to maintain the Star Pubs & Bars estate’s premium positioning with great pubs and strong businesses which appeal to skilled operators.”

Case study: Station Tavern, Lytham

Star Pubs & Bars’ joint £175k refurbishment of the Station Tavern at Lytham with lessees Debbie and Simon Malings is typical of the company’s investment approach of creating additional income streams at redeveloped pubs.

Part of the railway station building, the Station Tavern is in a premium position five minutes walk from the main high street and the redevelopment is intended to appeal to the broad cross section of people who frequent the area. The pub will be totally refurbished, updating the décor to a stylish but traditional look. Inside the project will involve complete redecoration including new toilets, a kitchen upgrade and improved coffee offer. The project will also create a dining area, a soft furnished area for coffees and snacks, and a space for the pub’s entertainment programme. In addition, the exterior of the pub is being redecorated and an outside area for eating and drinking made more comfortable and prominent with new seating and signage. These improvements will enable the pub to maximise trade from the railway station where there is no café or shop, providing the opportunity to cater to travellers with coffee, cakes, sandwiches and a takeaway service. The investment will also attract shoppers and office workers wanting refreshment during the day whilst still appealing to the wide range of customers who use the Station Tavern in the evening.

The pub is expected to reopen in early February.