Profile: Championing local produce

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Restaurant, Food and drink

A FOCUS on locally-sourced, seasonal produce and innovative food promotions is helping a first-time licensee to success in an up-and-coming...

A FOCUS on locally-sourced, seasonal produce and innovative food promotions is helping a first-time licensee to success in an up-and-coming destination pub.

Val Kersey left her job at a law firm to take over the Enterprise Inns lease on the Granville in Barford, Warwickshire, in May last year.

She invested in a refurbishment, created a programme of events and promotions to drive trade and, together with a new kitchen team, came up with a menu under which she aims to source 80 per cent of the ingredients from within a 30-mile radius. There is meat from a butcher in Kenilworth, for example and eggs and fish from suppliers in Stratford-Upon-Avon and Leamington Spa respectively.

The effort has paid off. At the tail end of last year, the Granville was among a group of close to 100 businesses that participated in the Coventry and Warwickshire Food and Drink Festival. The special menu put together for the six-week period helped the pub to the overall title in the accompanying awards scheme and a win in the 'Champion of Local Produce' category.

With turnover doubled since Val took on the lease, more local customers have created demand for a more quickly-prepared bar menu, which she introduced in time for Easter.

Val is bursting with ideas for attracting customers to eat in the Granville. The most obvious draw is the menu itself, featuring in season produce.

In February, there were warming dishes such as braised shank of lamb served with mixed herb mashed potatoes and redcurrant jus, and honey and mustard-glazed liver. The new spring menu includes a seasonal seafood bowl and a rack of lamb.

The local sourcing policy extends to the drinks range, where there is wine sourced from Dorjes Wine Company in Warwick, and beer from local brewers Hook Norton and Purity.

The licensee believes that terms such as local sourcing and seasonality are "important to customers". She explains: "One, there's support for suppliers in terms of keeping them in business. Two, it's topical that we should eat from producers locally. People are patriotic."

The menu policy is supported by promotions and events.

A diverse customer base is likely to be attracted by a 'detoxing' menu run during January, steak sandwiches and chips served during rugby matches shown on a big screen, wine-tasting dinners, and champagne brunches and picnic hampers to take outside during the summer.

The bar menu is being introduced in a similar way to broaden the appeal while maintaining the overall ethos.

Val explains: "I'm conscious of it being a destination pub, but also one that appeals to locals, who want to eat less formally. That's why I'm looking at bar food. But this is high-end bar food - not egg and chips but dishes you can eat on the bar that are cooked from fresh but quickly."

Going by things at the Granville since the new licensee took over, the 'high-end' bar food can only help to enhance the business.

Related topics: News

Property of the week

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more