Posts tagged: Greene King Pubs

Trading Update and Acquisition

By Matt Furnell, 28/04/2011 8:14 am

27 Apr 2011 – Strong trading momentum continues to year-end; acquisition further enhances London presence

Pre-close trading update

Greene King announces a pre-close trading update for the 51 weeks to 24 April 2011.

Strong trading momentum has continued throughout the second half of our financial year through to our year-end. Good weather across the UK has undoubtedly helped trading in the last few weeks, but our continued strong growth is driven by our focus on strategically important categories such as food and the consistent delivery of our industry-leading customer value, service and quality across the business.

Our expanding Retail business is the engine for our ongoing growth and sector outperformance.

Greene King Retail like-for-like (LFL) sales growth is 4.7%, implying 8.2% growth since week 35, the last week to have been impacted by snow. Our largest, and award-winning, retail brand, Hungry Horse, now has 158 outlets and is achieving LFL sales growth of 10.1%. Food continues to grow in importance for Greene King Retail, with LFL food sales growth of 8.2% driving expected sales participation towards 40% for the year. Belhaven retail LFL sales growth is now 4.0% and the recently acquired Cloverleaf business is delivering strong LFL sales growth. We expect margins for the full year in Greene King Retail to be slightly ahead of last year.

Pub Partners remains in growth after 48 weeks, despite the challenges faced by the overall tenanted and leased sector. LFL EBITDA is now +0.8% and average EBITDA per pub is +1.9%. We continue to invest some of our growth into providing long-term support for our licensees to help improve both their customer offer and the overall trading environment in our tenanted and leased pubs.

Our brewing businesses continue to outperform their markets: Brewing Company total volume is +2.0% with own-brewed volume (OBV) at -2.5%, although since week 35, OBV has been in line with last year; our core English ale brands, Greene King IPA, the UK’s no.1 cask ale, Old Speckled Hen, the UK’s no.1 premium ale, and Abbot Ale, the UK’s no.2 premium cask ale are level with last year; and volume of our market leading Scottish ale brand, Belhaven Best, is +1.8%.

We have recently completed the integration of both Belhaven and Cloverleaf, while earlier this month, we announced the completion of negotiations with our banks which resulted in a new, five-year, £400m, revolving credit facility to support our retail expansion strategy.

Our balance sheet and cashflow remain healthy and in line with our expectations.


In line with our strategy to expand and improve the quality of our Retail estate, we are pleased to announce the completion of the acquisition of Realpubs for a total consideration of £53.1m. Realpubs currently operates 14 premium London pubs, of which all but one are freehold, and their offer is a well developed and highly successful one, targeting the premium, pub dining customer within London. The acquisition is being funded by our existing bank facility.

These are large, highly profitable and well invested sites with forecasted average weekly turnover of £24.5k in 2011 and forecasted average EBITDA per site of £450k. The implied forward EBITDA acquisition multiple is 8.4x. Food is currently 33% of sales and growing strongly, with around half of all sales being driven by customers coming to eat in the pubs.

Malcolm Heap and Nick Pring, the two founders of Realpubs, have been retained for a minimum of two years. They will become part of the Retail management team helping to spearhead our growth and offer development in London, including the conversion of a significant number of existing Greene King pubs to the Realpubs premium urban local concept, and within the premium segment on a national basis.

Rooney Anand, Greene King chief executive comments:

“Driven by our clear and consistent strategy of delivering excellent customer value, service and quality, trading at Greene King has been strong and as a result, we remain confident for the outcome for the year. We continue to supplement strong underlying organic growth with targeted, value-creating acquisitions to accelerate our strategic aim of growing our Retail business to around 1,100 pubs and building the best Retail estate in the UK.

We are excited by today’s acquisition as it fits well with our strategy, by further strengthening our London presence and accelerating the development of our premium pub offer. The addition of Realpubs takes the total number of Greene King sites within the M25 to 217 and positions us strongly ahead of, during and after the Olympics in London in 2012, when London and its pubs and restaurants will be visited by tourists from across the world.”

For further information:

Greene King plc
Rooney Anand, Chief Executive Tel: 01284 763222
Ian Bull, Group Finance Director

Financial Dynamics
Ben Foster Tel: 020 7831 3113

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St Edmunds Real Beer & Food Festival at Greene King

By Matt Furnell, 12/04/2011 1:30 pm

Enjoy the Taste of Suffolk with Greene King

St Edmunds Real Beer & Food Festival at Greene King
Saturday 21st May & Sunday 22nd May
Greene King Brewery Gardens, Bury St Edmunds

The food & drink event of 2010 is back!

If you are interested in quality food and drink and want to sample a true taste of our fantastic region, you will love the “St Edmunds Real Beer & Food Festival”. Now in its second year, the Festival attracted over 4,000 visitors last summer, and organisers at Greene King are expecting even more success this May.

A wide range of top quality local food and drink producers will be joining the Suffolk brewer to promote their wares, offering opportunities to sample as well as to buy.  Among the delights will be locally produced smoked cheese, cured beef, jam, chutney, whisky, cider, premium sausages, seafood, ice cream, fudge – and of course, the finest real ales in the world!

There will also be live music in the gardens, food demonstrations, tutored tastings and beer master classes over the weekend. Families are welcome and we even have activities for the children, so get these dates in the diary!

Stand holders include Jimmy’s Farm, The English Whisky Company, Rodwell Farm homemade cheese, , Powters Newmarket Sausages, the Chilli Company, Yum Yum Tree Fudge, Pinneys Oysters of Orford and many more.

The ‘Festival’, which is being held in the Greene King brewery gardens in Bury St Edmunds takes place on the opening weekend of the Bury St Edmunds Festival, and is open Saturday 21st, 10am-6pm and Sunday 22nd May, 10am-5pm. Tickets are £3 each and are available from the Greene King Visitor Centre on 01284 714297, or from the Apex in Bury St Edmunds. Car parking is available for £2.

Join up to the ‘St Edmunds Beer’ Facebook group ( for regular updates and announcements. For more information please email

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By Matt Furnell, 09/03/2011 5:03 pm


The John Barleycorn pub in Duxford near Cambridge raised £400 at their charity “Wine into Water” event.  The money raised will pay to drill a well and provide clean water for an African village by selling wine!

Bernard Lee, landlord of the Greene King pub said, “By offering a three course meal with wine for The John Barleycorn Pubeach course presented by local wine expert, Richard Shobbrook, we raised the amount needed to provide an African village with clean water.  All we did was sell the wine and we can now send the proceeds to WaterAid who do such work in Africa.  It’s an innovative way to raise funds for this great charity”.

The John Barleycorn is renowned for its fundraising, has raised £4,400 since they opened two years ago.  Charities that have benefitted have included Help for Heroes and Cancer Research.


 Notes: WaterAid is an international non governmental organisation. Our mission is to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in the world’s poorest communities.

PUB CONTACT: Bernard Lee, Tel: 01223 832699,

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Greene King Licensees Get Business Fit

By Matt Furnell, 02/03/2011 2:34 pm

Greene King Pub Partners licensees have attended a free Get In to Shape – Business Fit event to

Clinton Horn from Exemplar Training presenting “How to make your business flourish!

Clinton Horn from Exemplar Training presenting “How to make your business flourish!

help them make their pub recession proof.  The seminar held last week included talks on “How to make your business flourish” by top trainer Clinton Horn; “Easy ways to maximise social media to promote your pub” and “Focusing on Value, Service and Quality to make your pub a success”.

Fifty licensees from their North Eastern region attended the event in Darlington and had the chance to network and book further training courses with Greene King at a discounted rate.

Simon Longbottom, managing director for Pub Partners said, “This is the first of our Get into Shape Business Fit seminars which we’ll be rolling out across the country.  They’re designed to be short and sweet to allow licensees to take practical and easy solutions back to their pubs that very afternoon that will improve their profits and consumer offer.  We provide quality training courses to help licensees in the long term and these free seminars aim to give additional tactical techniques to enhance their businesses”.

Yah-li Jim & Glenn Taylor from the Brooklands Tap in Sale

Yah-li Jim & Glenn Taylor from the Brooklands Tap in Sale

Speaking about the seminar, Yah-li Jim & Glenn Taylor  from the Brooklands Tap in Sale said,  “We never get time to come out of our pub but glad we came, we felt re-motivated by the day”.

97% of licensees attending felt they could take something away from the day and immediately implement it in their business and 100% confirmed they felt inspired by the day.

Greene King’s Get into Shape – Business Fit seminars will be rolled out to more areas in the coming months.

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The John Barleycorn pub team were in for a bit of a shock when they turned up for their team

Dublin Trip

Dublin Trip

meeting on Monday morning.  They were literally whisked off by their boss and pub landlord, Bernard Lee, to Dublin for lunch and a few drinks to say thank you to them for all their hardwork.

Bernard who runs the Greene King pub in Duxford near Cambridge said, “The John Barleycorn is a fantastic pub and that’s because of the team we have working here.  They do an amazing job and it wouldn’t be the same without their hard work so I just wanted to say thank you.  It certainly made a change from looking at staff rotas and menus for the week”.

Cellar manager, Dennis Cook who has worked at the pub since it reopened in 2009 said, “It was a fantastic day out and a brilliant surprise.  We didn’t expect it, we thought we were just going to a have a bit of lunch together at the pub”.

Bernard Lee took over the John Barleycorn three years ago, gaining many awards along the way, all of which he puts down to his staff.
Pictured: The John Barleycorn pub team enjoying their “meeting” in Dublin. Bernard is top left with glasses.


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Training to boost customer loyalty for Greene King licensees

By Matt Furnell, 21/02/2011 3:29 pm

As a growing number of consumers latch on to the crusade for better customer service lead by the indomitable Mary ‘Queen of Shops’ Portas, Greene King Pub Partners is helping their licensees by boosting its customer satisfaction training.

From this February Pub Partners’ licensees will be offered new training to gain invaluable skills and advice on how to serve and impress customers. Its all part of Greene King’s new ‘Retail Excellence’ course.

The training scheme has been launched to ensure all Greene King licensees offer the excellent levels of service that customers expect, helping the pubs to improve customer loyalty and profitability.

The training covers eight key areas:                                                                                      

•        Customer service and the profit chain: the commercial impact of great customer service

•        Shaping excellence: helping licensees create an excellent customer experience cycle for their pub

•        Retail service excellence: where retail excellence can go wrong, and what is needed to excel

•        Driving up performance: how to use the customer experience cycle

•        Service and standards: reviewing the customer experience against standards

•        Customer feedback: the importance of gathering feedback and using it effectively

•        Engaging people: getting staff on board to deliver excellence

•        Action: implementing best practice across all Greene King pubs

Simon Longbottom, managing director for Greene King Pub Partners, says service is undeniably essential to customer retention, loyalty and business success.

“Research has shown that a high level of customer satisfaction has a direct correlation with customer spend. And with programmes like Mary Portas: Secret Shopper, attracting an audience of three million people each week, customers are demanding better service levels than ever, and that means in pubs as well as on the high street. Our licensees need to be at the top of their game and we’re helping them to achieve that.

“The programme helps licensees understand the impact of staff training and retention on customer service, and how overall standards and offer can have an ultimate effect on how the customer feels, acts and spends.”

Greene King Pub Partners has already invested extensively in quarterly customer satisfaction surveys for each pub and believes that combining these results with effective customer service training and action plans they will improve profitability for each pub. 

The Retail Excellence training will be available to all Pub Partners licensees across the country from February.  All business development managers in the business have been through the training. 



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Local business couple take on first pub – WOOLPACK, FORNHAM ST MARTIN

Local businesswoman Clare Hindle and food consultant husband Graham have great new plans for their first pub business, the Woolpack pub in Fornham St Martin. 

Graham who is a former chef and runs his own food retail consultancy has already created a traditional British menu sourcing supplies from around the area. The couple who are serious foodies say there is a shortage of pubs offering good quality food at affordable prices. Graham said “The Woolpack is a classic country pub with loads of charm and character. We want to offer our customers great British pub food and drink in a relaxed and inviting environment, sourcing everything from as near to the pub as possible.”

His wife and new business partner Clare, who already runs Copeland Interiors in Bury St Edmunds has used some of her creative skills to give the pub an initial redecoration but has bigger ideas creating boutique style bedrooms and transforming the exterior.

The Greene King pub currently has a large restaurant of 50 covers, a bar with pool table, a function room and a large garden for families to enjoy. On top of all of that the couple want to enhance their services to the local community by offering speciality food nights, business lunches and a village shop! Clare says “We have always dreamt of running a pub together and when the Woolpack became available we jumped at the chance! We are fortunate to have an amazing team on board including our manager Layla Waller who has lots of experience and exceptional enthusiasm for delivering a great customer experience. We want to make this a pub this village and the community can be proud of”.

Since taking over, the Woolpack has received shining reviews for the quality of their food, the ambience and warm and inviting service.  Speaking about the couple, business development manager for Greene King, Paul Devine said “Clare and Graham with their team have developed a winning formula.  They have the skills needed to run a successful pub and they’ve created a place for everyone.  With their ongoing plans over the next year this will be a village with a pub that has it all!”


Press Contact: Elaine Beckett, PR & Communications Manager, Greene King Pub Partners, Tel: 07974 132844

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By Matt Furnell, 14/02/2011 11:17 am

Greene King licensees can look forward to a new and enhanced package of catering support to help them develop food in their pubs.  As part of their customer led retail strategy, Pub Partners has re-launched and enhanced their Food Made Easy training courses alongside a number of refreshed off the shelf food packages.

Food Made Easy is a turn key food solution so that their leased and tenanted licensees ca

Sample of the POS available to licensees

Sample of the POS available to licensees

n adopt a package which includes catering equipment, ingredients, margin calculator and printed interior and external point of sale, enabling them to offer food easily, whilst gaining the right training to achieve this.

Simon Longbottom, managing director of Greene King Pub Partners said, “This is a one stop shop in terms of food delivery from training to the actual delivery of a menu in the pub.  It’s cost effective, simple with low wastage, helping licensees manage their cash flow and ultimately their profitability.  It’s all about putting support in place that works, is easy to do and can produce instant results.

We’d like all our pubs to have state of the art kitchens but realistically this isn’t going to happen so it’s important that we can provide those pubs that need it with an up to date solution that meets customer demands enabling licensees to tap into the food market out there”.

The three food solutions include a panini menu, pizza menu and Local Favourites offer with three price points for each providing a margin of up to 70%, ideal for value community style operations.  Each package includes exterior corex and interior posters and menus.  Licensees are able to distribute up to 5,000 flyers locally and have the capacity to capture data of customers eating at their pubs allowing future communication to be web based.  The training is delivered across the country in cluster courses aligned to the menu packages available.

Adding Longbottom said, “By leveraging our managed house buying power we’ve been able to develop Food Made Easy so the lower prices can be passed to our licensees.  We’ve also trialled these food solutions and they work.  The training and the off the shelf kit provides the licensee with the confidence to offer food where they haven’t before or have just dipped their toe in.  It takes away any concerns around investment, training and food hygiene as the package does it all for them”.

Greene King Pub Partners first launched food support six years ago with their Food made Easy online packages and SCOFF menus.  The new range and training takes into account the changes in customer tastes and trends and was developed by Greene King’s own licensees for licensees.



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Mother and Daughter duo give local pub a new lease of life

The Robert Kett pub in Wymondham re-opened its doors this week after a complete makeover by mother and daughter duo, Debby and Charlotte Casey and pub owners Greene King.

The pair have been at the Greene King pub a year and it didn’t take long for them to realise the opportunity, so they decided to set down roots and add their own touch to it.  The new look includes new oak flooring, plenty of cosy seating and a modernised large restaurant. 

Charlotte and Debby at the new look Robert Kett pub.

Charlotte and Debby at the new look Robert Kett pub.

Charlotte said “The Pub business is in our blood. My Mum grew up in pubs and my Mum’s parents and Grandparents also ran them.  It’s what we do best and we are loving the challenge at the Robert Kett”.

The pub already plays host to a big local crowd coming in for sport, entertainment, food and drink.  It will now offer an ‘all you can eat Chinese and Thai night’ for £10 a head once every month with Charlotte and Debby joining forces with their local Chinese takeaway.  Alongside quality Greene King real ale at £2.39 a pint and a new menu with main meals starting at £4.25 and a Sunday Carvery for £7.95 per head, the pub has certainly been brought back to life!

Debby said “I love being with people and listening to the customers. For me, that’s what it’s all about, our customers come first and I hope that the Robert Kett is somewhere they’ll cherish for a long time in the future!”

Business Development Manager for Greene King, Paul Devine said “Debby and Charlotte have created a great place for local people to enjoy. Whether it’s a good pint you are looking for, a meal out or somewhere for a family get together, you’ll get a very warm welcome from them both at the Robert Kett”.




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The Oaks Stand Proud

Henry Cripps and his wife Katherine are celebrating that both their pubs, The Greene Oak in Oakley Green and the White Oak in Cookham have entries in the renowned 2011 Michelin Red Guide and that’s just after being in the business for five years.

Henry and Katherine at the White Oak in Cookham

Henry and Katherine at the White Oak in Cookham

The guide is the oldest and best known in the world highlighting the most exceptional chefs and eateries that can be found.  Speaking about the news, Henry said, “This is fantastic and it just shows that our hard work and dedication to wonderful service and food has paid off.  We’ve two teams at our pubs that keep our standards so high and without them we couldn’t have made them so successful.  We’re absolutely thrilled to have both pubs in such an influential guide”.

Henry and Katherine took over the Greene Oak with Greene King in 2006 and then the White Oak in 2008, transforming both into discerning dining pubs that have become well known for their outstanding food, service and surroundings.

Andy Spencer, business development director for Greene King encouraged Henry to take on the Greene Oak back in 2006, he said, “Henry and Katherine are natural hosts and this shows in how they operate both their pubs.  Their commitment to the very best experience a customer could want is shown in everything they do and we at Greene King are extremely pleased that their commitment has paid off and they’ve been recognised in this way.  It’s well deserved”.

Henry Cripps and wife Katherine, who is the daughter of TV and radio personality and broadcaster, Sir Terry Wogan operate their businesses using the motto “Use Better Food for Better Business” have also seen their pubs entered into the famous Sawday’s guide this year too.



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