Footfall steady for Blind Tiger Inns

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Company growth: Blind Tiger Brew Co is the mobile event bar division of Blind Tiger Inns
Company growth: Blind Tiger Brew Co is the mobile event bar division of Blind Tiger Inns

Related tags Multi-site pub operators Finance Pubco + head office Tenanted + leased

Multi-site pub operator Blind Tiger Inns has reported a steady trade despite the current challenges facing the sector.

The business was founded in 2017 by Chris Tulloch and is comprised a mixture of city centre and community pubs, showcasing entertainment, live sport and fundraising events.

Speaking to The Morning Advertiser, ​managing director Chris Tulloch said company hasn’t seen a huge impact on footfall as a result of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

He added: “Business is good in terms of people coming out, we're not seeing any massive decline either in community pubs or town city centre pubs.

“We're still seeing good volumes of people drinking and having fun. But we’ve then got the costs like everybody else that make it tricky and take the fun and profitability out of it, but at least we've got the turnover and the people and we’re still doing what we do.

“I think we'll be okay. [Consumers are] still going to want to do something because we're well positioned at the top end of the bottom segment.

“So if someone can’t go for a meal twice a week, but they still want to go out for a drink or they want some music, they could still come and do that in a night.

“People will unfortunately drop from the bottom but everyone else will step down is what we usually see in the recession in the wet-led sector.”

Business focus

Tulloch said at the moment, the focus for Blind Tiger, which now has 17 sites across the north west of England, is to drive turnover.

He added: " We have done two refurbs and we’ve done loads of beer gardens. We’ve done about £350,000 of capital expenditure to kind of buy our way out of trouble for now.

“It’s what I always do [but] you can only do it for so long. You can keep adding to your business, you'll grow your turnover and that's always going to help with the cost, isn't it?

“We’ve done the investment and that’s working. We’ve had a very good year and it will be our busiest turnover year. Like-for-like [sales] are up just over 9%.”

Earlier this year (October) the business recently branched out into a mobile bars and events service, including a converted Land Rover Defender and a shipping container bar – Blind Tiger Brew Co.

The fleet of seven bars and trailers offers high output event experiences, available across the nation.

Business expansion

Tulloch added: “We'll get there. That’s why we've done the Blind Tiger Brew Co.

“We always say if we're not going forward, we're going backwards. We did the capital expenditure but normally we'd grow probably to three pubs a year.”

The business had previously set up bars at large events such as Burnley football ground and so had the kit already.

“We picked up some other events and because we were using our existing teams because they all love it, they’d come and work but we ran the bars as though they were pubs so for example, every glass of Prosecco had a strawberry in it, every gin and tonic had a garnish,” Tulloch said.

“We enjoyed it, we expanded and it has spiralled from there. It’s good, give us something different.

“It’s not to replace the pubs but the synergies are really obvious. You’ve got the same team, same stock, same systems etc. We want to grow it from the six bars we’ve got now.”

For the wet-led sector, Tulloch predicted consumer behaviour would largely remain the same, despite economic headwinds.

He said: “I don’t see it changing. People still want to go out and play pool, darts, be on a team, come back somewhere after a football match, those things aren’t changing.”

Related topics MA Leaders Club

Related news

Show more