Star to increase JAT pubs by 67% in 3 years

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

New look: the Reiver in Carlisle reopened at the end of April, after a £265,000 refurb
New look: the Reiver in Carlisle reopened at the end of April, after a £265,000 refurb

Related tags Star pubs & bars Pubco + head office Multi-site pub operators Property

Star Pubs & Bars is set to accelerate openings of its Just Add Talent (JAT) managed operator pubs business to 250 sites within three years.

The Heineken-owned pub arm has recently reached the milestone of opening 150 pubs under the model.

The move to boost JAT numbers by 100 by 2026 will mean the model will make up about 12% of the company’s 2,400 pub estate with the business’s core number of pubs remaining in the leased and tenanted division.

Star has opted to expand the managed business on the back of robust trading and the popularity of the JAT model among applicants for pubs.

Real appeal

Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “Our JAT pubs are great sites that have real appeal to operators and local communities.

“Although JAT pubs currently make up only 6% of the Star estate, 28% of applicants for our pubs are for JAT pubs.

“JAT pubs provide an invaluable source of business insight for the wider leased and tenanted estate, and Heineken.

“It allows the company to trial new products and evaluate consumer trends. Learnings from JAT estate and JAT supplier deals are rolled out to our leased and tenanted estate.”

Former Falcon pubs at Punch

It said the model is particularly attractive in a high-inflation environment because energy and overheads, other than staffing costs, are covered by Star and added the earning potential for managers is unlimited.

The JAT estate was set up by Star in 2016 and saw Punch’s Falcon estate pubs converted to the JAT model when Star took on the Punch pubs in 2018.

The business said JAT offers a high level of support for operators – particularly through its BDMs​ – and, based on insight, Star creates the retail offer centrally so the drinks range, food menus and promotional offers are in place leaving the operators to arrange their own activities such as quizzes, sports teams and entertainment within set parameters.

Case study: The Reiver pub, Carlisle

After a £265,000 refurbishment, the Reiver pub, which is located on the edge of Morton housing estate in Carlisle, reopened at the end of April as a “great-quality, family community local” following a two-year closure.

A distinct drinking and dining space and a sports area with a pool table and darts were created as well as an enclosed beer garden.

Aaron Selby, the new licensee at the pub, said: “My partner Sophie and I come from the community and so realised how much everyone missed having a great local on their doorstep as there are no other pubs in walking distance.

“We now have great outdoor and indoor areas where people can relax and enjoy themselves.

“The response to the upgrade and pub reopening again has been overwhelming. Residents have come out in force to support us and are enjoying being able to walk to the pub.”

Related topics Star Pubs & Bars

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