Award-winning front-of-house manager Mike Champion has set up a new pub company with plans to open five sites during as many years, M&C Report has learnt.

Champion, who won Front of House Manager of the Year at the Publican’s Morning Advertiser’s Top 50 Gastropub Awards 2013 for his work at the Red Lion in Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, took on the Carpenters Arms in Cambridge in January. He had been running the Black Bull Inn in Balsham.

He told M&C Report: “I have set up a company called the Light Blue Pub Company with a view to acquiring more at some point in the near future.

“We are set up in order to roll out more. Five is our optimum number and we are planning on acquiring them over the next five years.”

Champion said his venture is currently self-funded and he hopes to “keep the lending at a minimum throughout”.

Sales have increased by 20% since he took on the Carpenters Arms, Champion said.

He plans to upgrade the guest rooms, bring in more soft furnishings in the bar and improve the food and service. He is also looking to build a covered seating area outside, close to the pizza oven, which he said is already proving popular with customers.