In order to broaden the business, expand the dining offer and appeal to more families, the couple has invested £25,000 in their outside garden area, which is set to open for this bank holiday weekend (27-29 May).
Ashley McCarthy said that while the pub is a destination venue for dining, the investment was so the pub can increase its footfall.
“We tend to be a place for special occasions and not so much for everyday dining. We want to change that and get the everyday diners in and more of the family market,” he said.
Pre-planning is vital
McCarthy explained was a period of pre-planning and organisation was essential to the development.
“We have been planning it since January. We used to have a decked area at the side but that was there for 12 years and it was knackered,” McCarthy said.
“We have taken it down to utilise the space and have used all the area outside.”
McCarthy used the pub's database to test out the ideas for the area and the feedback was very positive. Facebook has also been used to excite customers on the new look and keep everyone involved.
The development includes artificial grass, a 15x20ft cabin at the end of the garden that contains a bar, pizza oven, and new garden furniture.
The garden area was levelled flat to allow a marquee to be used that can seat 200 people to extend the business further with events such as weddings.
Food and drink
The food offer has been extended with the introduction of the pizza oven, although customers can still order from the pub's main menu and the kitchen has capacity to take on any extra trading.
“The pizzas just help out and take a bit of pressure off the kitchen,” he said.
The pizza option is one that is quick and easy and, with a GP of around 80%, makes financial sense.
“We are going to serve half a dozen types of pizza to start and then we will add to the list. It is a new field so we don’t know how it is going to go,” he says.
There will be one member of staff managing the bar and, depending on how busy sessions are, there will have another person to help with the pizzas. During quieter sessions there is a doorbell in the bar which will signal to the kitchen that a chef is needed to make the pizzas.
“The kitchen is 10 seconds away and they will come through and make a pizza. They only take 90 seconds in the oven to bake and, in five minutes, you have rolled it, filled it and baked it, and it is ready to serve,” he said.
The garden bar means the area can be used even during bad weather.
“We can sit 30 people in there, which means we can utilise this when the weather is bad. We can also use it as a meeting room and can have birthday parties in there,” he added.
McCarthy said that the pub is looking to increase trade by £2,000 a week meaning there would be a return on investment by the end of summer.
However, there are plans to utilise the space all year round. The area has heaters and the cabin can also be heated in the colder months.
“We are going to have a Santa's Grotto in December and focus on more events,” he explained.
“We have it here and it has to be used, and we have to get the money out of it.”