Star vows to invest £4.6m in gardens and outside spaces

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Capital plan: the Winchmore in north London has been given a £150k upgrade
Capital plan: the Winchmore in north London has been given a £150k upgrade

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

Star Pubs is investing £4.6m in revamping the gardens and outside areas of its pubs this year with 156 pubs set to benefit.

The pubco said its redecoration projects will focus on “reflecting and promoting each pub’s internal offer to passersby via its external look and signage”.

As part of the initiative, Star’s project teams have undergone training in what a pub’s exterior communicates.

Mural signs and smart heritage colours will be used at premium venues while community locals will have swing signs and paintwork in traditional pub colours, including burgundy.

Additional trade generation

Some 70 building makeovers will be carried out, each costing £38,000 on average. These will include new signs, lighting and planting plus additions such as feature entrances and cladding to enhance kerb appeal.

Star’s budget for outside spaces will upgrade gardens at 86 pubs and is concentrated on developing areas that will generate additional trade at least nine months of the year and during “wet British summers”.

To accommodate different pub layouts and planning regulations, Star will deploy two design approaches at major projects: awning-covered areas opening directly off pubs via bi-fold doors and free-standing heated and lighted pergolas with pitched roofs that are separate to the building.

Both options are designed to act as extra rooms and can be used for functions and events as well as for alfresco eating and dining.

Premium experience

Star Pubs property director Chris Moore said: “A pub’s exterior is just as important as the interior. The outside is like product packaging; it must marry with what customers find inside and encourage potential passing customers to try it.

“People want a premium experience when they go out. Attractiveness is key – everything has to be on-point. Done well, a stunning garden will elevate the inside too, providing good views.

“Pubgoers have lost none of their enthusiasm for sitting outside since the pandemic and going to a lovely pub garden with friends is now firmly established as a favourite consumer occasion.

“Following trials at our managed operator pubs we’re investing in weatherproof structures, and this year’s chilly wet weather underlines the value of doing that.”

Case study

The Winchmore 2

The Winchmore, Winchmore Hill, north London

Star Pubs said a £150,000 investment has transformed the garden behind the Winchmore into an 80-seater area that can be used all year round.

It was completed in March and it is claimed to have doubled sales at busy times and has increased trade 20% at weekends.

The aluminium-framed structure has double entrance doors off the car park, heating, solid walls for sound insulation and a retractable roof.

It is kitted out with a bar, wait station and a range of furniture, including booths and barrel tables – plus Instagrammable floral decorations, lighting and blankets that add to the atmosphere.

Eimear Walsh said: “It’s been busy from day one. The space is enabling us to host private parties, screen the Euros and accommodate Sunday lunch customers we’d previously have had to turn away – all incremental trade.

“It was a boon during the cold rainy spring and early summer, when people wanted to eat and drink alfresco. It’s extended the pub and will boost business year-round, including Christmas.”

Related topics Star Pubs & Bars

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