Brakspear is bringing the Running Horses in Mickleham, Surrey into its managed estate. The food-led pub with rooms becomes Brakspear’s third managed pub, joining the Bull on Bell Street in Henley-on-Thames and the Porch House in Stow-on-the-Wold.
The Running Horses was bought by Brakspear in autumn 2012 and leased back to the owners, who have now retired. Brakspear has appointed Robin Taylor, who managed the site for 11 years, as general manager, ensuring that its many loyal regulars will continue to enjoy the exceptional service which is key to the pub’s success.
Brakspear are currently drawing up plans for a major refurbishment of the pub, with the aim of extending the atmosphere of the traditional bar into the restaurant, currently a separate area, to create a more unified feel throughout the pub. Brakspear’s in-house design team is managing the project, which also includes upgrading the pub’s five letting rooms.
Tom Davies said, “We’re delighted to add the Running Horses to our managed estate, and to have retained Robin and his irreplaceable knowledge of the pub and its customers.
“Our three managed sites are very different from each other and we’re not trying to create a portfolio of identikit pubs. So when we took on the Running Horses, which is already a very successful site, we didn’t rush in to refurbish it to a particular ‘Brakspear’ design, but thought hard about what would work best. The changes, though significant in terms of our investment, will be visually subtle and we’re confident the pub’s customers will love them.
Davies added, “While we look at every pub individually, we of course want to apply consistent standards and share best practice across our managed estate.”
To this end, Brakspear operations manager Mat Aket, who oversees all three managed sites, is developing an operations and training structure, which includes monthly training for all general managers and weekly staff training sessions in each pub. In addition, managers and staff are placed in other sites as appropriate, either as part of pre-opening training, or to improve their skills in a particular area.
The Running Horses has a fine reputation for food, and was named as ‘Surrey Dining Pub of the Year’ in the Good Pub Guide for 2013. Thanks to its location close to Box Hill, it does a brisk trade with walkers and others visiting the popular landmark.