Star on track to invest £30m in estate and eyes first managed pub

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Star's Chris Jowsey said the investment is a sign of the confidence the pubco had in its operators
Star's Chris Jowsey said the investment is a sign of the confidence the pubco had in its operators
Dutch brewing giant Heineken has announced plans to invest up to £30m into its Star Pubs and Bars estate and is also on course to open its first managed pub site.

However, the company downplayed the move to managed, claiming it was just a one-off to provide an experimental training site for the benefit of the wider estate.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the PMA​, Chris Jowsey, trading director for Star, said: “The key thing is that we’re not moving into that managed model, we have no plans to roll it out at this stage.”

He said the new site, which will be opening in the Autumn in the Nottingham area, would be a chance for the company to “put our money where our mouth is” and provide a training ground for both head office staff, but also new recruits and potential licensees.

The business will also allow them to “pilot a new model” said Jowsey, which will see the site managed by a self-employed manager who’ll take a percentage of earnings and be “incentivised with a share of the profits”.

The pub will have a traditional feel, but with “21st century” technology behind the scenes, he added.

It follows plans announced by tenanted pubco Enterprise Inns last month to develop a managed estate.

Capex programme

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Meanwhile, the £30m investment, a 60% increase on 2014 figures, will see the company undertake work on 51 major projects with multiple operators, compared with 28 the previous year, with the company spending on average around £175,000 per pub, creating up to 1,000 jobs.

The spend will be primarily focused on strengthening the estate's food offer​, with Star aiming to ensure that 50% of sales in its pubs will be driven by food by 2020.

Chris Jowsey, trading director of Star Pubs & Bars said: "This investment is a reflection of the continued confidence we have in our pubs and our operators. Lessees are seeing returns on investment of over 31% on capex projects and their demand for and our commitment to invest in them is evidence of confidence on both sides in the pub market and the economy as a whole."

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