Having managed London pubs since 2012 for a variety of independent groups, the food focused, 2,587sq ft Hunter’s Moon represents Beatson-Hird’s first step into pub ownership as co-founder and owner director of The Lunar Pub Company.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser, he and chef Oliver Marlowe – previously an executive chef at Michelin-starred London eateries the Glasshouse in Kew and Chez Bruce in Wandsworth – announced the pubco’s first site would open on Chelsea’s Fulham Road in September.
Beatson-Hird spoke to The Morning Advertiser about Lunar’s launch.
What motivated you to launch The Lunar Pub Company?
“Having developed a passion for all things food and drink during my time working in the industry over the last decade, I realised the end goal was clear – to have something I could call my own.”
What is it about the pub industry you find appealing?
“I think there's a certain something special in looking at a room filled with people enjoying themselves and knowing they are because of the work put in by you and your team.”
How would you describe the pub company’s offer? Will it all be food led venues or will there be a mix of sites?
“I think food for us is key. The dining experience is what really brings people together – and that's what we are about, creating social hubs.”
You mention two more launches are planned over the next two years – what are you looking for in these venues?
“We are quite ambitiously hoping for two in two years, but our focus is first building a really strong infrastructure with site one so we can grow organically, responsibly and most importantly develop our team so they all have real career progression.
“It will realistically be three to four years for the next two, and each of the new sites will again be food focused, however it would be good to have some site diversity.
“Maybe having a second with a private function room and a third with a healthy sized garden.”
Are you going to be London based or branch out outside the capital?
“Our first two sites will certainly be London based, because catering to the south-west London market is what we know and love.
“If, however, a third site becomes available in the home counties we would consider it.”
What have been the biggest challenges in setting up your own pub company?
“Every aspect of setting up a new company has its challenges, some unique to the site and others industry standard.
“Each challenge has been a great learning curve and each challenge overcome will serve us well in the future.
“If I had to put a finger on one in particular it would be site acquisition and the bureaucratic process that follows.”
Where do you hope to see the business in five years?
“As a stable and well-known bastion for quality within the industry.”
What advice would you give pub managers looking to set up on their own as you’ve done?
“Don't be scared of hard work, long hours, processing new information and making tough decisions – it's not all about choosing which beer to serve.”