North West pub company Imagine Inns – a company set up to transform tired-looking pubs into profitable ventures – has increased its estate to four pubs.
Its latest additions are The Feildens Arms at Mellor Brook and The Railway at Bromley Cross, where the company has just broken ground on a £400,000 investment with Star Pubs & Bars. All Imagine Inns’ sites are on five-year rolling leases with Star.
The Railway Inn is Imagine Inns’ first major refurbishment and its first joint investment with Star. The project will transform The Railway into a food-oriented pub, with a kitchen extension enabling it to serve freshly prepared food all day.
As is the case at Imagine Inns’ other pubs, The Railway will have a dedicated vegan menu as well as a main menu of pub favourites, including meat sourced from individual farms across Lancashire and Cumbria, and fish.
A 50-50 wet/dry sales mix is anticipated in line with those at Imagine Inns’ other sites.
Imagine Inns specialises in revitalising closed or tired pubs in the North West. The company is interested in further organic growth focused on rural and village pubs in the region.
Mike Hales, an award-winning chef and director of Imagine Inns (pictured), said: “I like to look at the potential in a pub and imagine what it could become – hence the company name. We’re in no rush to expand. For us it’s all about finding the right opportunity, and each new pub we lease has to work before we move on to the next. To date, we’ve trebled trade at every business, and we anticipate further substantial growth at all of them.”
For now, the company is committed to leaseholds, as Hales explains: “Leaseholds are a great way of getting a group of pubs off the ground. I’m not afraid to invest – you have to be willing to make bold moves to reap the rewards – but it’s reassuring to be doing it in partnership on such a big scheme. The plans for The Railway are stunning, and it’s good to work with a flexible partner who is receptive to my vision and ideas.”
Imagine Inns took its first pub with Star two years ago.