Barracuda Group, which recently announced a 25 per cent increase in sales during freshers week at its Varsity chain of student outlets, has ambitious plans to drive the brand's annual sales for its loyalty scheme from £280,000 to £350,000 by the end of this current academic year.
The boost in sales was largely the result of Barracuda's £1 V-cards loyalty scheme. Group chief executive Mark McQuater believes the student market is still seriously under-exploited by today's pub operators and sees the sector as a major opportunity for further growth.
"Students now make up 10 per cent of the UK population and they have been ignored by pub operators for years," he said. "This is a niche marker, but one that has been woefully underprovided for."
Barracuda has plans to expand its 27-strong Varsity estate with the roll-out of further sites across the UK. McQuater, who set up the company in July 2000, has grown it into a major player in the pubco market with three brands, Barracuda Bars, Varsity and Smith and Jones turning over £90m a year.