‘Pubs will prosper’ under Heineken’s proposed £50m investment

By Robert Mann contact

- Last updated on GMT

Cash injection: Star Pubs & Bars’ Lawson Mountstevens says pubs will thrive under Heineken's £50m investment
Cash injection: Star Pubs & Bars’ Lawson Mountstevens says pubs will thrive under Heineken's £50m investment
Heineken’s bold £50m investment programme, that will see the refurbishment of 150 pubs, has been hailed as a ‘much-needed’ boost to the industry.

The Morning Advertiser reported last month​ that the brewer and pubco giant had announced plans to invest the substantial figure, which will create an estimated 1,200 hospitality jobs, as well as seeing 150 pubs refurbished.

The world's second largest brewer has already siphoned £190m into the refurbishment of its estate since 2013 and now 150 more of its 2,700 sites have been earmarked for an average spend of £250,000 per venue.

Customer spend impact

Having already pumped millions of pounds into hundreds of its Star Pubs & Bars businesses over the past six years, its 2019 investment is set to become the most the Dutch brewer has ever spent on UK pubs.

Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens dubbed the significant investment as a “breath of fresh air” for the category and explained that such investment will help impact customer spend.

“Investment can impact customer spend quite dramatically indeed,” said an enthused Mountstevens.

“The clear majority, if not all, will open up a quality food opportunity to attract a new type of punter.

“All our major investments are focused on a true transformation of the pub and, furthermore, the investment has got to work for the operator.

"Ultimately, they need to be able to deliver a plan in order to drive a sustainable business – otherwise it’s a very poor investment for all involved.”

Tender loving care

Focusing on investing in a mixture of Star and former Punch pubs, Mountstevens said that the investment comes at a time when attention must be given to pubs that had been neglected and uninvested in over the past five years.

He added that operators can make financial contributions themselves, dependant on the nature of the agreement, investment and style of pub.

“Regardless of all that, all the way through, we would have an outline view and vision in order to get the process moving,” Mountstevens concluded.

“For example, if you think of someone that’s quite new to running pubs, then we would probably take much more of a leading role.

“On the other hand, a more mature operator would have a clearer understanding of what they want and what they don’t want.”

The plans to spend a record amount on transforming dozens of its pubs in the UK comes as the Amsterdam-based brewer searches for growth opportunities in a mature market – even as the prospect of Britain leaving the EU looms.

The investment also comes at a time when almost one in four pubs have closed across Britain since 2008 – the Government’s statistics agency said last November – bringing the total in the country to about 39,000.

Related topics: Star Pubs & Bars

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