Pitcher & Piano seeks out new sites ahead of first opening in five years

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Coffee, Food

Pitcher & Piano is preparing to open its first new site in five years in Hitchin
Pitcher & Piano is preparing to open its first new site in five years in Hitchin
Colin Sadler, managing director of Pitcher & Piano, has revealed he is on the lookout for new sites for the Marston's-owned brand as he prepares to launch the 20th bar under the concept, the first new opening in five years.

The 141-cover venue, which sits within the former Corn Exchange in the Hertfordshire town's Market Square, will open in early August.

Expansion

The bar will feature a 'new food and drink concept' for the group and, if successful, the menu will be rolled out to the chain's other sites and installed in the new Pitcher & Piano venues which Sadler is hoping to launch soon.

“Hitchin is a perfect town for Pitcher & Piano,” he told BigHospitality. “It is 40 minutes on the train from London, a good commuter town with a good range of retail outlets and coffee shops and all the usual-suspect restaurant operators are there.”

Sadler, who also heads up the Revere Pub Company, said the ‘Holy Grail’ for a new Pitcher & Piano site was one with a large number of both shoppers and business people.

“The Hitchin site gives us the opportunity to trade in an area we have not traded in before and further demonstrates that we will be looking for new sites across the country, (a process) which we are already under way with,” he added.

The group’s estates team are currently looking for potential locations for expansion but Sadler said he was in no rush and was looking for ‘the right sites in the right places’.

Hitchin

The new Hitchin bar, which was formerly operated by Marston’s as a Que Pasa restaurant, will feature an all-day food offer specialising in gourmet burgers, big-flavour premium hot dogs, seasonal dishes and signature sharing plates such as chilli jam tiger prawn skewers.

One section of the menu – entitled ‘Food That We Love’ – will change regularly allowing the team to showcase on-trend dishes and react to customer demand.

Innovative cocktails, premium spirits, beers, local ales, ciders and a large selection of wines will be available to drinkers. Pitcher & Piano will also react to demand by regularly changing some of the on-draught options.

Repositioning

Pitcher & Piano’s return to the acquisition trail comes at the end of an eventful four or five years for the brand.

Under Sadler’s leadership, it has moved away from trying to dominate the late-night market and has returned to the evening food & drink offer which it became known for when it was founded in 1986.

“We have been changing our bars and repositioning it (Pitcher & Piano) back to what it probably should have been and what it was when it was originally founded,” Sadler said.

“Trying to be a jack-of-all-trades is a real skill. If you are seen as a phenomenal late-night operator that is your reputation and that affects your daytime operation. If you are serious about food it is a hard juggling act to balance that quest with maximising your late-night trade,” he admitted.

The Hitchin Pitcher & Piano, with BGW Concorde-designed interiors which feature a grand piano, opens on August 2.

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