Star to invest £14.2m in Just Add Talent managed pubs

Star Pubs & Bars is to invest £14.2m on its Just Add Talent (JAT) manager operator pubs in 2019 and will increase the number of JAT pubs to 150 by the year end.

Over £12m is to be spent converting pubs to meet the quality and criteria needed for the JAT managed operator style of business which includes an average of £30k on both kitchen equipment and epos systems. £1.2m is also earmarked for transformational upgrades of existing JAT sites and £1m for pub gardens.

The investment is on top of the £3.5m spend on 87 former Falcon pubs in the last quarter of 2018. This included the installation of Smart Dispense cellar equipment to ensure consistent great quality beer and cider dispense, good coffee machines and putting in energy efficiency measures such as LED lighting and insulation. All operators and staff at the invested pubs undertook refresher training on retail standards and food.

From the end of February, JAT pubs will also have access to four or five rotational cask ales to choose from, providing variety for customers and extending the pubs’ cask offering.

Lawson Mountstevens said, 'We’re committed to building a strong managed operator pub model within our estate, which we see as hugely beneficial to our core leased and tenanted business. We know that our licensees want more help on saving costs and driving sales.

'Our JAT model helps us do this by trialling new initiatives, such as Heineken 0.0 on Blade, and improving deals with our suppliers. It also gives our Business Development Managers more detailed insight into daily pub operations, which helps to improve the business building support they provide leased operators.

“We are a predominately leased and tenanted business, and it is our intention to remain so. Our ambition is to Build Britain’s Best Pub Company and within that for JAT to be the preferred managed operator agreement. This investment helps us to achieve that.”

Case study: The Centurion, Chelmsley Wood
The Centurion in Chelmsley Wood (pictured) reopened at the end of 2018 following a £400k refurbishment which transformed the former rundown pub into a great quality local, introducing coffee and food.

Cladding and planting were added to the outside to make The Centurion an attractive feature of Chelmsley Wood and the outdoor seating area upgraded with lighting and heating for year-round use.

Inside, the pub was knocked through and completely revamped to make it more comfortable and contemporary. A screened sports area with pool and darts was created as well as a dining area served by a newly installed kitchen.

Since reopening the pub has increased trade by 70% and a further seven new jobs have been added to the original 10 new jobs created on the back of the refurbishment.

Licensee Ellen Brown said, “January is normally quiet, but not this year! Customers are amazed – they can’t believe this is the same place as before. The investment has been really good for the area – it’s reinvigorated the community. People are coming back to the pub and bringing their families.”