Ex-M&B chair John Lovering backs new Fireside Pubs & Restaurants group

By Mark Wingett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Inn, Tavern

John Lovering, the former chairman of Laurel Pub Company and Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), is backing a new food-led pub group called Fireside Pubs & Restaurants, which plans to expand to around 20 sites across the South of England over the next three to five years, M&C Report has learnt.

Lovering is backing an operational team led by industry veterans Leo Murphy and Alan Moore, after making an investment through his vehicle, Echelon Partners in the new venture. His son Nick will join the new group’s board.

Its first site will be the former Alma pub in Chelmsford, Essex, which after a refurbishment is set to re-open later this month under the new name, the Admiral J McHardy.

As part of the transaction, Echelon has taken a strategic stake in Moore and Murphy's existing business, the Arizona Group, which provides management, advisory and consulting services to owners, operators and investors in the licensed retail and hospitality sector.

Moore and former Greene King commercial director Murphy, acquired the Alma Bar and Restaurant from Close Imperial Pub Company in February.
The Arizona Group also counts Anthony Mitchell, who formerly worked on the Beefeater brand for Whitbread, as part of its management team.

Nick Lovering said: “We are delighted to have completed this investment with Leo and Alan. They are a well-respected and high quality team with a very exciting model, which matches our understanding of customers' requirements. We look forward to continuing to support the team as they develop the Fireside Pubs & Restaurants brand and think that this first unit represents an excellent springboard from which to establish the concept and develop the group.”

Lovering stepped down as M&B chairman in February 2011, after little over a year in the role.

Related topics: Mitchells & Butlers

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