North West pub operator, Blind Tiger Inns, is taking the leases on two new pubs with Star Pubs & Bars – The Argyll & Sutherland at Eastham and the Towneley Arms Hotel in Longridge. The pubs will undergo joint refurbishments totalling £340,000 before opening under Blind Tiger’s management. The new sites increase Blind Tiger’s estate to 20 sites – 19 of which are with Star – and will create 22 new jobs.
The revamps of The Argyll & Sutherland and the Towneley Arms will take a common approach, upgrading them into premium locals specialising in sports and entertainment.
The wet-led venues will offer an extensive selection of drinks from premium brands to traditional favourites.
Whilst Star Pubs & Bars will provide finance for both revamps, Blind Tiger Inns will undertake the projects using their preferred local designers and contractors. Says Chris Tulloch: “The flexibility to invest like this is a benefit of partnering with Star. Having worked with them for more than a decade, we have a strong relationship built on trust. They understand our business, which makes agreeing new deals very straightforward.”
Comments David Pritchard, Star Pubs & Bars’ operations director: “We’re delighted to be developing more pubs with Blind Tiger Inns – it’s a mutually beneficial partnership. They are incredibly creative and know how to deliver exceptional locals that keep up with customers’ changing tastes and appeal to all. Importantly, they’ve developed a strong pub management team, so the service is phenomenal,”
Despite the cost of living crisis and the challenges of inflation and high energy prices, Tulloch says it’s “ business as usual” at Blind Tiger Inns and he remains positive about the outlook for pubs. “We’ve made no cut backs and have continued to give our customers the great experience they know and love when they come to our pubs. We’ve invested in the best glassware, revisited our wine and gin menus, revamped gardens and kept up our maintenance programme, so our pubs look as good as ever. As a result, our volumes are in growth, albeit increased costs have dented profits. We’re confident we’ll emerge from this tough period as a strong business and will recoup our profit margins as energy prices settle down.”
Looking to the future Tulloch says Blind Tiger Inns remains “open to taking on new sites, if they’re the right opportunities. Any expansion will be driven by leased pubs. We like the flexibility of leasing and the stable overhead of rents that are fixed for five years compared to the risks and uncertainty of property ownership.”