Punch has unveiled a revamp of its sports bar brand, Champs, after a £1.1m investment.
The next generation format includes experiential zones, including interactive play station areas, as well as improved AV systems.
Growing the currently six-strong concept is one of Punch chief executive Clive Chesser’s goals over the next three years. The sites can be operated as a tenanted or retail managed option.
The latest style has been trialled at the new Loughborough site – the former Stonegate pub, The Unicorn – which has undergone a £388,000 investment. Champs Sheffield was also overhauled following a £700k investment.
Punch’s offices in Burton on Trent also has a newly opened Champs zone showcasing the concept for publicans considering taking on a Champs pub with Punch. The area includes soft furnishings, live sports coverage and multi-media systems, pool table and features fixtures and fittings you can expect to see in a Champs pub.
Chesser said, “We are investing over £1.1m in Champs this year. Showcasing our exciting sports concept in Burton is great for our internal teams and current and potential publicans. Our two new 2019 generation Champs demonstrate the exciting opportunities that this sports-pub brand provides for both the local community and for current and future publicans.”
Chesser outlined more about his three-year plan at MCA’s Tenanted Pub Company Summit last month, which will see £80m invested over that period.
He told the conference that having around 1,300 pubs in the company, and being privately-owned by Vine Acquisitions, meant the company could now focus on the future of its estate on a pub-by-pub basis.
On coming into the business last year from Greene King, Chesser said: “I found the [Punch] business had been through a year or two of intensive change [following the transfer of 1,900 pubs to Star Pubs & Bars] and before then it was a story of growth.
“I expected a tray full of problems when I arrived, but I didn’t get that, so when I arrived I came to a clean desk and was able to say what we’re doing next is focusing on growth and starting a new plan.”
Having a small estate allowed future plans to be stripped back, he said, adding: “We’re small and agile. When Punch had 7,000 pubs it was a machine, but now we can run it on a pub-by-pub basis.”
He continued: “Our vision we created was about being the most inspiring start-up business, to connect pubs with people and then the possibilities that come out of that are endless.”