Greene King invests more than £15m into Hive Pubs

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Strength to strength: Greene King has invested more than £15m into its Hive Pubs concept since 2021
Strength to strength: Greene King has invested more than £15m into its Hive Pubs concept since 2021

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Greene King Pub Partners, the leased and tenanted arm of Greene King, has invested more than £15m into its Hive Pubs model since its inception two years ago.

The franchise was launched in November 2021, with the Maldon Grey in Sudbury, Suffolk, marking the first Hive pub to open later that month after a £200,000 renovation.

By April 2022, Greene King had launched seven sites across the country, having opened the Orb & Sceptre in South Wootton, Norfolk, following a £400,000 investment.

The Orb & Sceptre​, previously known as the Deer’s Leap, was then launched with franchisees Alan and Sam Brookes at the helm and a refurbished outdoor area, including beach huts.

April saw the opening of two Hive pubs for Greene King. After the Orb was the Norfolk Terrier​ in Thetford, Norfolk, following a £340k investment from the pub operator and brewer.

The pub, which is run by Louise Burden, had been closed for more than two and a half years prior to the relaunch and received a more modern makeover.

Incredible experience 

May 2022 saw the reopening of the Globe in Chelmsford, Essex, following a £320k renovation.

Operator of the Globe​ Melissa Field said: “Taking on a Hive Pub has been an incredible experience for us. Greene King have invested in and led the transformation of the pub. They sort out just about everything from back of house systems to stock."

The concept hit double-digits the following month with the opening of its tenth site​, the Albert Tavern in South Norwood, London, which benefitted from a £100k investment, including new lighting, furniture, decorations, and flooring throughout.

Greene King’s next Hive milestone came when the Coach and Horses in Maghull, near Liverpool, reopened following a £450,000 refurbishment.

Marking the 20th site​ in the franchise, the Coach and Horses benefitted from a complete renovation inside and out by designers DV8, including renovations to make the garden area useable year-round.

By November 2022, a year after its launch, Greene King had opened 25 Hive pubs, with the Rose & Thistle in Reading, Berkshire, marking the achievement after being closed for the previous two years due to the pandemic.

“Hive Pubs​ continues to go from strength-to-strength and we intend to keep this momentum up heading into 2024”

December last year saw one of the biggest Hive investments to date, with Greene King investing £940k into the Victoria i​n Thurston, Suffolk, which is operated by David and Natash Riggs.

The pub’s interior was overhauled with new lighting, furniture, flooring and décor while a sports area, including two dartboards and a contactless pool table, was also added.

Outside the Victoria benefitted from upgraded seating as well as a new bar and servery.

The pub’s franchisees said: “Having managed successful pubs, we wanted to take the next step and run our own pub business.  

“With the low in-going costs, combined with guaranteed income and full support of Greene King, going down the franchise route was the obvious way to make our dream a reality.” 

Former managing director of Greene King Pub Partners Wayne Shurvinton told The Morning Advertiser ​in July 2022 that the firm planned to reach 30 sites by the end of that year​, and the pubco hit its target in February this year with the opening of the Essex Skipper​ in Frinton, Essex.

In August this year, the Ainsty in North Yorkshire​ also welcomed customers back to the site following a £500k transformative investment, which together with refurbs undertaken at the Good Companions in Reading and the Nelson Hotel in Wallasey, totals £1.5m in investment costs when combined.

Most recently, Greene King marked the launch of its 40th Hive site​, the Britannia in Bradwell, Stoke-on-Trent, which was previously one of the firms’ managed sites, having benefitted from a £400k makeover.

Significant milestone 

This summer, the Hive concept was awarded an accreditation from the British Franchise Association (BFA​), also becoming a member of the association, which is an independent, self-regulatory body offering guidance, support and accreditation to businesses who provide franchises.

Hive pubs are community sites offering menus centred around pub classics paired with desserts and a range of drinks, including premium lagers and stouts, cask and craft beers as well as spirits, wine and fizz, all complemented by varied promotions.

Many of the pubs within the concept offer quiz nights, live music, karaoke as well as fundraising events for local causes.

Sport also plays a key part of the offering at Hive pubs, with most sites equipped with both Sky Sports and TNT Sport subscriptions to show major sporting events.

Aimed at those with experience of running a pub, the Hive Pub franchise agreement gives licensees a ready-to-trade pub within a proven branded concept for £5,000, ingoing cost and a minimum guaranteed income of £20,000 plus additional income based on performance such as share of turnover.

Greene King Pub Partners managing director Dan Robinson said: “We are delighted to hit yet another significant milestone in the rollout of Hive Pubs and our pub franchise offer.  

Hive Pubs​​ continues to go from strength-to-strength and we intend to keep this momentum up heading into 2024.”

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