Redcomb Pub, the four-site operator led by former Mitchells & Butlers executive Dan Shotton, is hoping to open as many as six pubs in 2012. The company’s current estate comprises one Punch Taverns pub, a Spirit site, an Enterprise Inns venue and a free-of-tie lease, and it is looking at securing further deals with Punch and Enterprise. Shotton said: “We are close – around 80% of the way there – to signing up for two more sites imminently.” The Redcomb founder said that he had detected a definite shift in the eagerness of the major pub companies to recruit high quality multi-site tenants and invest heavily in the sites they take on.  He pointed to the example of the group’s Village Gate in Wendover, Surrey, which Redcomb re-opened after a £340,000 investment from Punch Taverns topped up with a £100,000-plus investment from Redcomb. The pub had been closed for nine months prior to its re-opening. Shotton said: “We’re looking very hard at further sites with Punch, for example. I think the tenanted operators know that operators like us are not going to invest huge amounts of cash in tied leases – but we are very high quality tenants that can make a real difference to a pub.” In August, the group appointed two senior non-executive directors to its board to aid its expansion plans. The two non-executive directors were: David Franks, who was founder and chief executive of Regent Inns and currently a director of BFI - he has more than 35 years experience in the trade; and Quentin Williams, former national sales director at Courage Brewing, who has over 40 years experience in the pub sector. He was founder of Marr Taverns and also a Director of Inn Business and BFI Ltd.

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