Punch chief executive Duncan Garrood has said a further 200 sites have been identified for the company’s value community pub model Mighty Local.
Speaking at MCA’s The Pub Conference, Garrood said the currently 21-strong concept prompted an average sales uplift of 70%.
He also revealed that the company’s next retail format will be in the mainstream value segment.
He said the group’s accommodation model, under the Punch Inns banner, was the current focus with particular attention paid to online booking and dynamic pricing to maximise potential.
On Mighty Local, Garrood said: “The is a model that is aimed at communities. These pubs are in the heart of residential areas. Generally speaking, when we put in a Mighty Local compared to the previous pubs there the uplift is about 70%. That is through really understanding consumers and delivering hospitality. We have identified another 200 sites for these and I expect it to play a big part in Punch’s future.”
On Punch Inns he said: “We have about 300 pubs that have a significant amount of accommodation. However, we have been running them as if they were bars, not on the basis of attracting accommodation business. We are now focussing the people who run those Punch Inns on accommodation management. We have taken very basic steps like taking bookings on booking.com.”
Garrood, speaking one year to the day since he was appointed as Punch chief executive, said when he left international franchise operator MH Alshaya he was approached by a number of casual dining brands but said the pub sector had always been a more attractive option.
He said: “It ultimately came down to the fact that I can’t get that motivated by selling pizzas or burgers. But pubs have just got your soul. There is something about them that is in the psyche of the British people. It’s tremendously and historically British and has hospitality at its heart.”
On the approach pubs must take to counter increasing competition, he said: “I believe food has a role to play in every single pub, whether that’s just a snack offering or right through to a full gastropub experience. But that food is subservient to the hospitality a pub delivers. What sets a pub apart from a restaurant is hospitality – the recognition of the customer as an individual, a social place for customers to meet and to manage their community, a place people can drop in and out of and always feel at home.”