Star ploughs £7m into pub gardens

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Flower power: the Garratt Tavern received £100,000 for garden improvements
Flower power: the Garratt Tavern received £100,000 for garden improvements
Heineken-owned pubco Star Pubs & Bars has ring-fenced £6.73m to revamp the outside spaces of 230 pub gardens this year, as part of the pubco’s wider £50m investment plan.

An average of £26,000 will be pumped into each pub, with many receiving redecoration, new lighting and better signage.

Access to buildings will also be modernised, with outdated premises receiving a makeover.

The investment will be channelled into outdoor areas and façades only, with close to 110 pubs receiving garden and outdoor dining improvements.

Upgraded alfresco dining areas will be designed to increase covers and licensees’ trading space, as well as to prolong the pub garden season to at least nine months.

Increase the garden season

This means permanent wood structures with slated roofs, sheds, pods and awnings will be installed to provide weatherproofing, said Star.

Star Pubs & Bars property director Chris Moore said: “Pubgoers increasingly want to eat and drink outside.

“It’s something many people enjoy when they’re travelling abroad and they love getting that same holiday feel at their local.

“With research suggesting 50% of people are planning a staycation this year for their main summer break, we’ve been working flat out to complete as many gardens as possible in time for the school holidays.

“Pub gardens have changed beyond all recognition in the past decade. They’re used less for smoking and more for enjoying fresh air.”

Attention to design

He continued: “A lawn and picnic benches no longer cut it. Customers expect the same attention to design and comfort they get inside the pub when they’re outdoors.”

A licensee of the Garratt Tavern in Wandsworth, south London, has already received a £100,000 investment to his garden, which has helped increase outdoor dining space.

He said: “The garden is giving us another income stream and attracting a whole new customer base to the pub – it’s almost like having a second business.

“People want to be outside when the weather is good. We’re packed out on sunny days but thanks to our new outdoor bar, nobody goes thirsty.”

Meanwhile, an analysis of pubco investments revealed​ in The Morning Advertiser ​showed the UK’s three largest pubcos had invested £600m into their estates during the past two years.

Related topics: Star Pubs & Bars

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