5 January 2018, Smart Zones
Experienced pub operators Paul Gabbutt and David Morse are advisers to Winwick Taverns, which has a seven-strong pub portfolio in and around Wales and the North West, three of which are with NewRiver.
The pair, who have a reputation for turning around challenging sites, are helping Winwick Taverns achieve its modest ambition to grow the estate to a maximum 10 pubs. Paul and David work closely with the managers who run the pubs, which include NewRiver’s The Corner Pin, in Flintshire, Wales; The Black Horse, Chesterton, in Staffordshire; and, most recently, The Armchair, in Moreton, on the Wirral peninsula.
A specialist leisure and retail property company, NewRiver is one of the UK’s largest owner/managers of convenience-led shopping centres, with assets under management of £1.3 billion, principally comprising 33 UK-wide shopping centres and 340 pubs, together with further nationwide retail and leisure assets.
Paul said of NewRiver: “They’ve backed Winwick Taverns, and the Corner Pin is a good example of them investing to refurbish what was a run-down pub. It’s the same at the Black Horse, where the company has spent money to resolve a number of issues after we took it on.”
Paul, who began his pub career as a Carlsberg area manager in 1993, describes Vianet’s iDraught bar and cellar management system as a ‘crucial’ and ‘invaluable’ tool to the day-today running of their portfolio. He says it comes into its own the moment he takes on a new pub: “What people say a pub turns over in sales is often very different from the reality, and we want to know as soon as possible what it’s doing in a week.
“Having analysed the data, we’re then able to establish what it should be doing every week, which enables to plan marketing and promotions accordingly, and to order the right levels of stock, so it’s absolutely crucial when we take on a new pub.”
“It removes any grey areas by providing us with exact figures for what’s going through the draught lines. It’s invaluable,” says Paul.
But that kind of control, along with keeping on top of line cleaning and till and pouring yields, is what Paul considers iDraught’s valuable role: “From our point of view, it’s a management tool that helps us identify trends, monitor ‘hot spot’ times’, and see if there’s been any early or late drinking.”
Winwick Taverns introduces iDraught to its pubs as soon as possible, because, Paul says: “When it’s not there it means we’re operating blind. When we have it, we look at everything, and we keep looking.”
Indeed, regular and careful scrutiny of iDraught data revealed one pub experiencing surprisingly quiet Saturday night periods, when Paul would have expected it to be buzzing and sales high.
Without iDraught, they’d have been none the wiser, but with it they quickly put in place a drinks promotion to boost sales, something which had an immediate effect, with the pub in question now taking an extra £1,000-per-week in sales.
David Shipton, asset development director for NewRiver’s pub portfolio, said: “It’s hugely encouraging to see that embracing iDraught technology has enabled Winwick Taverns to turn around the fortunes of two of our pubs. The data it provides certainly appears to give Paul and David the control and foresight they require to be able to implement promotions at short notice, and to plan longer-term marketing strategies.”