Heineken confirmed today that it will plough a further £20m into upgrading its Star Pubs & Bars estate across the UK in 2017, taking its total expenditure on pubs to around £100m over the last five years.
The biggest winners will be rural and suburban pubs with around £10m earmarked to transform them into great local pubs, introducing food and coffee, for the whole community to enjoy.
The move is likely to see a significant sum invested in new kitchen equipment and design to ensure pubs have the catering facilities they need.
Heineken said its investment comes on the back of new research that shows just want consumers want from pubs these days. 62% want their local to offer good food, 37% look for a nice pub garden and a quarter would like free WiFi.
By investing in new kitchens, changing the layout to include comfortable outside space, areas for events and cosier spots, as well as offering free WiFi, Heineken is convinced that it can transform underperforming pubs into local hubs the whole community can enjoy.
70% of the £20m it has earmarked for investment will be spent on transformational projects over £100,000, while just under half of the investment will go towards transforming pubs in rural and suburban areas.
In addition, Star will spend nearly £3m on maintenance and repairs this year.
Lawson Mountstevens, Star Pubs & Bars managing director, said: “Two thirds of Star pubs are located in suburban or village locations. Residents in these areas are looking for the same choice and quality of drinks, good food and entertainment on their doorsteps as they get in city centres. Over the past five years we have invested c. £100 million in transforming our pubs in hundreds of communities across the country. The continued investment creates pubs people want to use, benefitting local communities and creating local jobs.”
Some of Star’s pubs have seen food and drink sales double over the past year following investments of up to £200,000 per property on new kitchens, coffee machines and catering facilities.