Former M&B chairman backs new food-led Fireside Pubs & Restaurants group

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Investment

Fireside Pubs & Restaurants has been founded by industry veterans Leo Murphy and Alan Moore and has been backed by former M&B chairman John Lovering
Fireside Pubs & Restaurants has been founded by industry veterans Leo Murphy and Alan Moore and has been backed by former M&B chairman John Lovering
John Lovering, the former chairman of Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), has backed the team behind a new food-led pub group - Fireside Pubs & Restaurants - which is looking to open around 20 pubs in the south east within three to five years.

The group is led by pub industry veterans Leo Murphy and Alan Moore who will relaunch The Alma, a former bar and restaurant in Chelmsford, Essex, as The Admiral J McHardy this month.

Springboard

Lovering, who until 2011 was the chairman of M&B and has also served as chairman of former group Laurel Pub Company, has invested in The Arizona Group, a hospitality consultancy business run by Moore and Murphy.

The transaction has been made through Lovering's investment vehicle Echelon Partners and both John and his son Nick will now join the board of the new company.

"We are delighted to have completed this investment with Leo and Alan," said John Lovering. "They are a well-respected and high quality team with a very exciting model, which matches our understanding of customers' requirements.

"We look forward to continuing to support the team as they develop the Fireside Pubs & Restaurants brand and think that this first unit represents an excellent springboard from which to establish the concept and develop the group," he added.

Premium experience

Murphy revealed he and Moore and been planning to launch a pub brand for a while and now believed the market conditions were right for a premium food and drink offer in the south east.

"We are delighted to welcome John and Nick as backers and are already seeing the benefits of their involvement," he said.

Both Moore and Murphy have extensive careers in the pub industry - Murphy has previously served as the commercial director of Greene King.

"The prospects for the first site are encouraging and we are confident that our model will deliver a premium experience combining a quality food offering and value for money, and that each Fireside Pub & Restaurant will be at the heart of the local community," he added.

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