Star Pubs and Bars has announced that it is investing £6m this year in revamping the exteriors of its pubs to enhance their kerb appeal and increase external covers.
The investment is double that of 2017 and is expected to benefit 260 pubs. Over 60% of the funds are being allocated to transforming pub exteriors through redecoration, new lighting and signage and cladding and other finishes for less attractive buildings.
The group said it will focus on creating “strong statement entrances” by adding structures such as pergolas, dropping adjacent windows and, where possible, relocating side entrances to the front. New outdoor areas will be created at 120 pubs, adding more covers for alfresco eating and drinking and improving the space for licensees to hold events.
Features will include retractable awnings, pods, lighting and astro turf to enable all-weather, year-round use.
The group will implement the trend for ‘bringing the inside out’ with the use of outside rugs, interior-style furniture, artwork and mood lighting. The number of outside bars and cooking facilities – such as pizza ovens – is expected to rise as licensees look to capitalise on the investment and reduce pressure on main bars and kitchens during warm weather.
Star Pubs and Bars property director, Chris Moore, said: “This expenditure is an essential part of our 2018 £44m investment programme. A pub’s external appearance is vital to its success; our research shows it sends all sorts of signals to passersby on what they’ll find inside. A great outdoor space is no longer ‘a nice to have’.
“Customers now expect a fantastic environment outside as well as inside, and licensees see outside areas as an essential part of any refurbishment and a vital income stream. Our own calculations suggest a properly designed garden can increase drink and food sales by as much as £50,000 a year.”