Redcomb Pubs is looking to grow the accommodation side of its business and sees the potential to add a further 40-50 rooms to its existing 100-room estate, MCA has learnt.

The company currently offers accommodation at half of its 16 sites, and has had a planning application approved to add nine en-suite rooms at The Cherry Tree in Dulwich, with applications also submitted to add five additional rooms at The Carnarvon Arms, in Highclere, and nine at Alphabet in Islington. Redcomb is also looking to add 10 more rooms at Worplesdon Place, in Guildford.

Co-founder and joint-MD, Mark Draper told MCA that there was the potential to add another 40+ rooms to its existing estate, and that while the business still relied on the weekend trade at the majority of its sites, “having rooms has helped us with trade in the early part of the week”.

Joint-MD Dan Shotton said the business was looking to maximising the returns from its existing portfolio of venues. “We are looking to develop and really sweat the estate,” he added.

In terms of future acquisitions, Shotton said the company wasn’t looking to stretch itself outside its current geographical spread, but that it was looking more and more outside London.

While the pair would not be drawn on future pipeline plans, Draper said that with the current uncertainty in the market, he thinks there will be fewer operators able to pick up some of the freehold stocks on offer. “I think we are in a good position to pick some of those groups, potentially even small packages or mergers,” he added.

In addition to the growth of the accommodation side of the business, Redcomb has been working to grow its events arm, with weddings account for 25% of its events business.

The pair have also been working on the segmentation of its estate in order to offer more targeted food and drink menu, and pricing, dependent on the type of site, whether it is a city pub, suburban pub, smaller country pub or fits into its new Urban Social division.

“It has helped us to develop our food business better, and profile it better. We have also premiumised our drinks offer,” said Draper, in order to tap into the demand for cocktails and gin-based drinks.

Redcomb Pubs recently reported an 11% increase in turnover for the year to 30 June 2018, from £15.2m to £16.8m.

Draper said trading dipped in August after strong trading in July, but picked up again in September, with the business in a strong position heading into the Christmas period. “We are well ahead on pre-booked events,” said Draper, with some sites seeing a 22% increase in bookings year-on-year.

The company has just launched a whiskey-themed pop-up bar in the function room upstairs at The Theodore Bullfrog near Charing Cross, in collaboration with Diageo, called Double Barrel.