Trade accountancy firm masterminds business turnaround to launch Bar Titania

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bar association

Bar Titania, which launched on Charing Cross Road this week, has come about after a trade accountancy firm invested in the business to help turn it around
Bar Titania, which launched on Charing Cross Road this week, has come about after a trade accountancy firm invested in the business to help turn it around
Bar Titania, a gay-friendly bar and club, has launched on Charing Cross Road after an accountant brought in to help close the venue down decided to invest in it and open a new business.

Odette Gibson, the managing director of trade accountancy firm Volenis, was approached in January by the three owners of the Maiden Tower lounge bar who wanted to close the struggling business down.

The venue's design was akin to that of a nightclub but the property did not have a late license and the confused offer meant not enough revenue was being generated.

However Gibson, who has been involved with the hospitality industry for more than 30 years, managed to persuade the trio to re-think their plans to close the business down.

Turnaround

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Bar Titania opened this week on Charing Cross Road

Speaking to BigHospitality, Gibson said she asked the owners whether they really wanted to sell up or whether they would prefer to learn more about business and the industry: "I said you can either sell your shares or you can take 49 per cent and give somebody else 51 per cent and they can invest in it and turn it around," she explained.

Gibson teamed up with a colleague - Tricia Jones - to take on the venture and manage the business.

"We put some money into it," Gibson explained. "I looked after the decor and the vision and together we project-managed it. A lot of people think 'I will open a bar, isn't it easy' but it has got to look right, you have got to have the right offering and pricing structure and you have to have great service," she added.

Among other lessons, the trade accountant has managed to show the venue's original owners more about the hospitality industry, about working with gross profit and about how to create benefits from a loss leader.

Bar Titania is now positioned as a gay-friendly, sophisticated bar which is open for morning coffee, afternoon tea and evening options with a focus on a balance of fairly-priced house drinks alongside more premium spirits, cocktails and wines.

Focus

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The bar is designed to be a gay-friendly venue with fairly-priced house drinks

The bar also boasts evening entertainment - with a concentration on young talent - and a garden after an unused space at the front of the venue was converted during the refurb.

Before the relaunch the bar did not have a focus on a core target customer - something Gibson had been keen to change.

"It is crucial - it is about knowing who your target market is, especially in that particular area of London.

"I want the bar to be successful, I want it to sustain itself financially and I want the people who are working in there to learn and develop.

"I don't think there are enough places where people are trained," she concluded.

Related topics: Business, Pubs & Bars, Venues

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