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Coaching Inn Group set for 2016 expansion

By Liam Garrahan , 13-Jan-2016
Last updated on 13-Jan-2016 at 17:58 GMT2016-01-13T17:58:19Z

Coaching Inn Group set for 2016 expansion

The Coaching Inn Group is aiming to expand further in 2016, having added three sites to its 10-strong UK-wide portfolio in 2015.

With sites from Yorkshire to the Cotswolds and Wales already in place, the group is looking for six more UK businesses to add to its portfolio this year.

Edward Walsh, finance director at the group, told BigHospitality that the focus is on whether or not a business is right for them, over the location.

“The beauty of the businesses that we run now is that they are businesses in their own right. They have their own structure and they can run independently, unlike when you’re building a pub estate where you have to be much more local as you have to be in there more often,” he said.

“It’s about finding the right location in a good town. People say ‘if you want to be in this town we have two sites for you’, we say that they’re not right for us; it isn’t about saying we want to be in a certain town and finding a site there, it’s finding a site that suits our business.”

The risk of steering away from this business model could lead to the group purchasing sites that could hold them back, he says.

“It is always a risk because at the moment we have a really high quality estate and we don’t feel that we have any lagging units in there, whereas larger estates have one or two that create a few issues. If we buy poor sites we’ll create issues for ourselves, and that’s why we’re sticking very close to our business model; it’s about finding the right site over the right location.”

The group has been making key appointments to its senior management structure with the experienced Jill Matthews coming in as head of operations to ease the expansion process.

Walsh said that these appointments have readied the group to take on the ambitious plans.

“The business is in a position to take it on the plans. We have the head office structure in place and the right people who have been there and done it, so we’re putting a structure in that allows us to add sites quickly,” he said.

“Fundamentally we’ve been steadily building this business, and every time we find a new site we’ve added our culture and our products in there, and we’ve found that what we’ve been good at is putting higher quality offers in to these market towns, and it’s working for us. We’re enjoying taking on new sites and we feel that we’re at the right stage to do that fairly quickly.”

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