Freehold the Merry Harriers in Hambledon has raised its GP across the business from 55% to 77% and licensee Colin Stoneley plans to add another 3%.
"There are several keys to raising GP," said Stoneley. "We have concentrated on quality in our food and drink offer and everything is top of the range. Our food is all locally sourced and we use premium drinks brands. Our prices tend to be fairly expensive as well to encourage a better quality of clientele.
"Secondly we found a good chef and have implemented a package good enough to keep him." Previous chefs left after short periods so Stoneley has devised an incentivised bonus package to retain his chef.
"It is really important to become known for something specific," adds Stoneley. "We have become known for our bloody Marys and we sell a stack, especially on Sundays. We have a secret recipe and people love them - it involves a dry sherry at a certain point in the mix." Around 40 are sold on a busy Sunday.
Lamb is bought from a local butcher and butcher in-house with a popular lamb dish selling around 20 a night at £18.50 a time.
"Otherwise, it is attention to detail and having well-trained staff. We also have very good long term supplier relationships and our buying costs haven’t changed too much over the last few years."
Stoneley has not advertised much, but relied on word of mouth, PR and the `local press. Adding three letting rooms last year also helped raise GP and occupancy has risen from around 55% to 97% from May to now through signing up to Booking.com, which takes 3% of the room rate in commission. The rooms are let out for £105 and £95 depending on size.