Founders Simon Kalton and Edward Barlow are have revealed their delight at the 47.8 per cent growth across the group for December 2012; with their two longer standing pubs, The Swan in Tarporley and The Boat in Clwyd, up 3.8 per cent on 2011’s like-for-like figures.
“We’re thrilled with the support we received throughout the festive period, particularly as we didn’t even start marketing the Christmas menus or events at The Crown in Goostrey (which opened in September) until mid-October,” said Barlow. “Our dedicated teams worked their socks off to make sure our locals were looked after and their efforts have certainly paid off.”
K&B is planning to open it's fourth pub, The Dog Inn in Peover, in March and the group is on the acquisition trail, looking to expand to 15 sites by 2018. The group is looking for leasehold or free-of-tie licensed premises over 2,500 sq.ft in size, situated in quality towns, large villages or urban locations with good car parking and outside areas. Bedrooms and extra function rooms are also desirable.
With three sites already under their belt, co-founder Kalton believes the key to K&B’s success so far has been fairly straightforward, adding: “There is a culture that exists within our company from the weekend washer-uppers to our management teams, we look after our locals. And, although we are proud of our fresh-food offering we also make sure we look after our wet-led trade.”
“Some might say it’s the worst time for investing in the licence industry, but to us it’s been a prime time. There are great opportunities for the right operators right now and our strategy seems to be working. We don’t want a portfolio of fine-dining restaurants that used to be pubs, we want an eclectic mix of prime village and market town pubs, with rooms if possible.
“We believe it is vital to the business to look after the wet led trade – we stock a good range of local ales and have also created a house ale (with the help of a local brewery) for each site.”
Chris Whirledge of Pub Innsite, K&B’s retained agent, added: “Together, Edward and Simon are a force to be reckoned with. They have a phenomenal energy and passion and share the same vision to create real gems where people want to eat, drink and sleep. Their attention to detail means there’s little room for error and I have no doubt that they will reach their goal of fifteen pubs in five years”.
A newly-appointed PR and marketing team is now on-board to maintain momentum and push the group’s social media, while Matthew Parker, former head chef at the Golden Lion in Rossett, has just been appointed as K&B’s executive chef.
Discussing the menus, Parker said: “The main menu we will be rolling out is full of English classics with a few European twists along the way. The formula here is a good one. I’m not here for an ego trip - I’m here to ensure there is consistency across the board.
“Our menus will cater for most tastes and we’ll keep looking at ways of keeping our customers coming back for more. I’m passionate about using local produce whenever I can – I know it’s become a cliché over the years, but I have been championing this since I started growing my own fruit and veg and keeping my own chickens and ducks from a youth.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead – it’s going to be a very busy but exciting time for all of us involved.”