Peach Pubs on the acquisition hunt after record-breaking reopening sales

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Trading results: Peach saw unparalleled sales at its sites amid reopening for outdoor service earlier this month
Trading results: Peach saw unparalleled sales at its sites amid reopening for outdoor service earlier this month

Related tags: Multi-site pub operators, MA500, Peach, Finance

Multiple operator Peach has seen record-breaking sales figures since reopening for outside trading this month (April) and is looking to add a number of new sites to its existing portfolio over the next nine months.

The pub group, which was started in 2002, has a number of sites across towns and villages in the Home Counties and prides itself on its food and drink offer, alongside its award-winning culture.

Peach managing director Hamish Stoddart said: “We opened all our 19 pubs on Monday 12 April because at Peach, we never want to leave any of the team behind.

“We didn’t lose team in lockdown and when we worked out only one pub looked like a big loss-maker in April, we decided every one of our team deserved a chance to work, to serve their community, to make our guests’ lives Peachy.

“That town centre pub with only 18 covers outside did £12,000, profitably. Remarkable. Another pub did its all-time record week of £65,000, beating its previous £50,000 record – well over 250% like for like.

“That plan worked really well. We achieved £725,000 and £690,000 of sales in weeks one and two across all our pubs outside only, including the town centre ones. 

“That’s 131% like for like v the equivalent Easter weeks in 2019.  Our sweepstake on week one sales ranged from £275,000 to £350,000 – £725,000 was a shock.”

Team development

Stoddart went on to outline how the business is monitoring service amid reopening and highlighted how it has used technology to its advantage.

He added: “We are still squabbling about who to give the win to and it doesn't look like stopping for now. Peach is ideally situated outside London to benefit from all the macro trends of working from home, digital and data and outside eating. 

“Of course, the main issue is doing this volume beautifully. We are measuring this carefully with the HGEM review tool and so far, so good.  

"In lockdown, we worked hard for our communities as well as introducing Planet Peach – a much improved learning tool, order on mobile app and we also tweaked our profit model. 

“We've always been good at training and personal development at Peach, but now we're even better having partnered with CPL as our technology provider, and reworked how we do team development. 

“We introduced our guest app with Pepper, and we looked after 35 different charities in the past six months. We made use of the time.”

Peach has won a number of awards including being listed in the Sunday Times ​Top 100 Companies to Work for.

Strong and safe

"We are rightly proud of our best employer awards. Fifteen years in the row now, we are always winners. Our performance in this year's Sunday Times​ Best Companies to Work For list, which is revealed on 21 May, is amazing. It reflects how we approached lockdown with a plan to look after our team first,” Stoddart said.

"We've had the results of the annual team engagement survey which was done in March this year and are very hopeful of being top 30 or even better this time. Ultimately, we aim for top 10 in UK. 

"Financially, we are strong and safe. We have cleared all landlord, government, creditor and supplier debt and have the continued support of our bankers, HSBC UK who have facilitated Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme loans of £2.25m. So, as we restart our cash flow looks excellent. And we are safe for another variant lockdown, all the while looking after our landlords, supply chain and IT partners too.”

Looking to the future, the company is set to add to its existing portfolio of 20 sites during this year and next.

Stoddart said: “We are currently looking for three or four new pubs to acquire over the next nine months and are partnering with Tom Cormie of Fleurets as our principle agent as well as working with other pubcos and agents to identify some great pubs to make Peachy. 

"There are challenges, not least getting the right team in place to cope with what we anticipate being our best summer ever. Despite the pandemic, our team has emerged strong and 96% of our chefs and managers have stayed with us this year and confirmed best happiness ever in the survey.

"However our Australian team has mainly gone and not returned, and we aren’t super strong in commis and kitchen porters.  

“So we are building the team size for the growth by taking on talented people, particularly deputy managers and junior chefs looking for their next step up who are willing to grow with us. Grow and improve, we will; we remain resolute in our goal of being the best gastropub company on the planet as measured by Sunday Times​ Best Companies to Work For and in sustainability too with the SRA.”  

Related topics: MA500 Business Club

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