Oakman Inns founder Peter Borg-Neal has expressed his delight with the pub group’s progress after reporting a 20% rise in sales for a 12-month period in which it almost doubled the number of sites it owns.
Borg-Neal said its financial accounts would show that turnover for the year to April increased 9% on a like-for-like basis, profit forecasts had been achieved and all bank debt had been removed.
He said that the company’s newest sites are all ahead of their investment target, with The White Hart in Ampthill averaging more than £40,000 net of VAT per week, for instance. Two further locations, in Cosgrove and Chipping Ongar, are currently being fitted ahead of openings in June and July.
“By the time The Kings Head opens in Ongar in July we will look back on a period of 12 months when we have taken the business from seven to 13 sites, initiated our own management and staff academies and raised our quality and profitability,” he commented. “We continue to look for new sites and have two or three in the Home Counties under consideration. Furthermore, we have raised £10m to strengthen our balance sheet and now have no bank debt.”
Borg-Neal also paid tribute to the impact that several key senior appointments have had on the business since their arrival, including executive directors Joseph Evans, formerly of Whitbread, and Alex Ford.
Additionally, Gordon Browne, previously of Orchid, has joined as financial controller, Lisa Yearwood has been brought in as marketing consultant and Ross Pike has been hired as chef director. Browne’s appointment in particular will free up Joseph Evans to take a more central commercial role in the business, according to Borg-Neal.
Oakman Inns & Restaurants was founded in 2007. The company has established the new concept of the ‘modern public house’ by successfully transforming both historic and modern buildings into contemporary spaces for the benefit of the communities which they serve.
By July, the Oakman Inns collection will comprise 13 unique ‘all-day’ establishments across Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Essex.