Gary Downham, owner of Pie & Pint Inns, operator of the Hare at Roxwell, Chelmsford, is looking for an investor to help him roll out the concept, after the Punch Taverns pub turned over £1m in its first year. Downham acquired the lease of the Punch pub for £50,000 and spent £350,000 on a refurbishment of the site, which offers “very traditional, freshly prepared British fayre”. He set up Pie & Pint Inns after spending 30 years undertaking refurbishment work for major companies like Greene King. Downham said: “We are very keen to move forward – we’d like five sites with an opening every 14 months or so. I’d very much like to find someone to help me grow the company by taking a stake - and who would like to stick around for a while. We have a formula here that works and we are ready for an investor to help us open more sites.” The businessman has spent many years studying the American foodservice market and has applied a few ideas from the US to his first venture. These include a Handmade Cake Servery offering between 25 and 30 types of homemade cheesecake, an idea adapted from the Cheesecake Factory chain in the US. The pub sells 20 complete cheesecakes during the summer. Other US-inspired ideas Downham has applied include soup and salad combinations and hot bread sliced on a breadboard at the table. The entrepreneur has also commissioned his own range of ales. He also has a second brand he would like to develop called Café Crust – an all-day town and city centre café concept based on the hugely successful American Panera Bread chain but also adopting Italian influences. Downham said: “It would be a stylish high street café with coffee, great beer and food – a step on from the Starbucks offer.”