Star Pubs & Bars will invest over £250k in food support for its licensees in the next year.
The company said it was focusing on food investment because it “is a key income stream and one most pubs can benefit from.”
It said 74% of Star pubs now sell food, which is the highest percentage of any national leased pub operators, according to figures from Tenant Track.
Star has also negotiated special pricing deals with four national food suppliers, and created a back bar food support guide for kitchenless or part-time food pubs.
One Star pub which has focused on its food offering is the Winchmore in Winchmore Hill, London.
Run by a brother and sister duo, Mark and Eimear Walsh, the pair reopened the pub after a £440k joint refurbishment with Star.
This involved a complete overhaul of the pub’s layout, installing an open theatre style kitchen with a pizza oven and converting the upstairs restaurant into a function room.
The pub now offers classic British food and Mark and Elmear try to find exceptional products and use suppliers that customers might not be familiar with.
For example, cheese from Wildes, Tottenham’s artisan cheese maker.
The pub has benefited from Star's investment in growing food, after the business was helped to put a focus on food at the pub.
Encouraging up-market bar snacks
Part of Star’s new back bar food support guide encourages licensees to start offering more gourmet back-bar snacks like olive and crisp boards to cheese boards and ploughmans.
It suggests pub regress from snacks like microwave pizzas, burgers and pies.
Lawson Mountstevens, managing director Star Pubs & Bars said: “We’re focused on long term sustainable leased pub businesses and having multiple income streams such as food is key.
“We want to give our licensees the very best support in this area. Our package now spans fully funded residential cookery courses for licensees and staff workshops to financing kitchen fixtures and fittings.
“We’re continuing to up skillour BDMs so they can provide expertise in this specialist area and using outside chef consultants to give licensees the very best advice.”