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Brakspear to partner with Claude Bosi following the acquisition of Fulham's The Malt House pub

By Peter Ruddick , 24-Sep-2012

Related topics: Business, Venues, Pubs & Bars

Brakspear has made its sixth purchase since returning to the acquisition trail earlier this year by buying The Malt House pub in Fulham from Spirit Pub Company which will now be let to Jolly Fine Restaurants - the company owned by Michelin-starred chef Claude Bosi.

Brakspear, led by chief executive Tom Davies, has completed the purchase of The Malt House pub in Fulham which will be let to Michelin-starred chef Claude Bosi

Brakspear, led by chief executive Tom Davies, has completed the purchase of The Malt House pub in Fulham which will be let to Michelin-starred chef Claude Bosi

Bosi, who already owns the two Michelin-starred restaurant Hibiscus and the Fox & Grapes gastropub in Wimbledon, will jointly fund a £750k refurb of the property with Brakspear before it opens within several months as a 100-cover food-led pub with six bedrooms.

Tom Davies, Brakspear chief executive, said the large corner site near Fulham Road, which dates back to 1729, had enormous potential.

"By partnering with one of the most talented and well-known restaurateurs in the business, we are confident of turning it into an outstanding food pub with letting bedrooms.”

“Despite the challenges faced by our industry, there are still plenty of diners in London seeking out innovative, quality food. The Malt House is in a prime location to capture these customers."

Portfolio size

Although the purchase is the sixth of the year, Davies told BigHospitality last week he did not expect the Henley-on-Thames-based company to significantly increase its portfolio in the short-term. 

"I have got no aspiration to grow it to 500 sites - it is just not what we are about. At the moment we are sitting on 147 pubs and in five years’ time we might be the same number but what I expect is we will have a larger number of better pubs and fewer of our tail-end. I want to grow it organically."

Davies masterminded the purchase of two former Enterprise Inns sites in July  - returning the company to estate growth for the first time in six years. "We thought if we can pick up one or two really high-quality pubs and, on the flip-side, dispose of a few at the bottom end of the estate then we are making it better," he said.

Managed future

Although all six sites bought this year commit the business to its tradition of owning pubs that are leased or tenanted, Davies revealed Brakspear was constantly looking at, and weighing up the pros and cons of, moving into managed houses too.

"We constantly look at it if I am honest - we could set-up a good managed business, it would need to be food-orientated. The USP we have is that we don't have managed houses. If you look at a number of our competitors who do they would be running a number of our sites under management so I have got the ability to better offer great sites to multiples or individuals."

In recent years a number of businesses previously committed to tenanted or leased site have also made the move Davies is considering. Currently many Brakspear tenants are multiple operators who run a number of sites as mini businesses for the company - something the chief executive says is strength as it fosters professionalism but could also be a future weakness.

"I can't say we never will and the fashion in the industry is now coming back round to managed."

"Multiple operators are great until something goes wrong and then we are exposed to two or three sites which might run into trouble at the same time so an added advantage of having a managed house arm would be that we could move into those sites and run them while we decide what we are going to do with them," he concluded.

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