Clive Chesser, managing director of Greene King’s Pub Partners arm, has told MCA the group is discussing further joint ventures with “exceptional operators” across its estate, following the launch of its partnership with Tom Kerridge.
Yesterday the group confirmed it would open butcher-pub hybrid the Butcher’s Tap, in Marlow, with the celebrity chef.
The concept, which will be a fully functioning butchers and bar during the day and a pub/restaurant in the evening, could be rolled out within Greene King’s estate and franchised out further, Chesser suggested. He said this would be the model for future partnerships.
He said that while the joint venture model would remain a “relatively niche and opportunistic” part of the Greene King business, discussions were already under way with other potential partners. He said he hoped to announce the second joint venture “in the near future”.
He said: “It’s part of our future armoury but it is just one option alongside our core tenanted and leased and franchised offers. The idea of this is that with really exceptional operators we are keen to partner with them in a much richer way and form a proper joint venture limited company. We can bring our assets, expertise and areas of real specialist retailing skills. We should be able to grow businesses at pace.
“We’re very keen to explore these opportunities with other talented entrepreneurs and there are one or two others we are actively working on. I think we will be ready to announce number two in the near future. That is something very different to the pub/butcher hybrid but another variant on hospitality and another twist on the modern pub.”
On Kerridge, he said: “We are delighted that Tom, Beth and Andy Cook are our first partners.
“We couldn’t get a better example of a partner we would like to do more with than Tom. He’s been with us for 12 years and look what he has done to grow his business, but he’s always been very proud to be a Greene King partner.”
On the wider potential for Butcher’s Tap, he said: “One angle is exploring the idea of growing the business beyond the existing estate. There’s no reason this partnership with Tom Kerridge couldn’t then be rolled out into our pubs or into high street butchers or other properties. It has clearly got potential for expansion and other opportunities we are looking at certainly have franchise potential. That could be beyond the assets that we currently own.”
The Butcher’s Tap’s food menu is described as a celebration of meat, with plenty of British favourites such as braised faggots and hot-pots, homemade pies, scotch eggs and sausage rolls. The bar will stock a curated selection of real ales, lagers and spirits, with a small but ever-revolving choice of wines.
Kerridge said: “The quality of produce that Andy brings is uncompromising, and he’s a proper butcher. We want The Butcher’s Tap to be the heart and soul of Marlow, somewhere you can pop in every week for your usual order that we’ll have ready for you, but also a place you can have a pint and a hot pork pie straight out of the oven.”