Multiple operator Dan Fisher has taken on his third site with Star Pubs & Bars, taking his total estate to nine, and with plans to grow it by another six.

Located within Daventry high street’s new conversation area, the pub, formerly called Fridays, is to be renamed The Lion, with Fisher and Star Pubs & Bars jointly investing £400k in order to transform it from a drinkers’ bar, into something with wider appeal.

It will have an all-day food offering, and in the evening will host DJs and live music, with a 4am closing time on weekends.

Fisher, who currently has six sites in Manchester and three sites, all through Star, in Northamptonshire said the acquisition formed part of his plans “to grow the Northamptonshire estate by another six pubs”, both in villages and towns.

He told MCA he would look to acquire the additional sites over the next 12 months to two years. “I am really concentrating on Northamptonshire because there is a lot of development going in the towns within the county, compared to other places.”

Fisher said he is always interested in bars that become available in towns undergoing redevelopment, of which Daventry was a good example.

“For example, Northampton University has moved from outside the town centre, to right in the centre, and as part of that they have created satellite campuses, and one of those is in Daventry – so we’re going to see an increase in the student market in those towns,” he said.

Fisher said areas of the county were increasingly becoming new commuter towns to London, with places like Wellingborough soon to benefit from a redeveloped train station, new housing and roads. “You get a good student base, but also people with good money in their pockets who are commuting to London for work,” he said, “so that’s one of the big things for us.”

He said that while the student market is a big focus for him in his town centre venues, he is not currently be looking to expand his Manchester portfolio, despite the city’s heavy focus on the student population. “It’s quite saturated in Manchester. You get nine months trade then the city literally dies outside the academic year,” he said.

Fisher is also looking to roll out a loyalty app which he has trialled at two of his sites. The app, developed by Yoyo, incorporates the stamp system on loyalty cards, with a digital payment wallet, so customers gain a stamp for every pint they buy, for example, and 100 points for every pound they spend. “It gives us quite a bit of data on customer interaction, popular times of the day and what they drink,” he said.

One of the trials was at a village pub, which Fisher said he didn’t expect to be as successful as it was. He said almost every customer in the village now has the app, with 80% of its transactions having move away from traditional payment methods, to going through the app.

In addition to its work with Yoyo, Fisher has also been doing some work on geo ring-fencing and wifi hotspots. “Not only do we get data on what customers spend, but we can see, for example, where they sit in the venue, so we can work out where the dwell times are by using the different wifi access points in the venue,” he explained. “We don’t see an individual person, but we can work out which are the popular areas of the bar, even down to that fact people prefer to drink cocktails in certain parts of the bar.” He said this data enables the company to direct advertising to specific digital marketing screens around the pub in order that it is see by the target customer. It also enables them to put targeted POS materials on tables.

Topics