Brewer invests

Heineken adds jobs as leases on offer at city pubs

Tolbooth Tavern, one of nine leases in Edinburgh being offered

Heineken is investing in its pub estate across the UK as leases are on offer at a number of its well-known Edinburgh hostelries.

The brewing giant is creating more than 700 jobs across the UK as the hospitality sector anticipates a strong recovery after two years of pandemic restrictions.

The brewer, whose UK head office is in Edinburgh, will upgrade 660 pubs – more than a quarter of its Star Pubs & Bars venue business – as part of a £42 million investment.

The company said investment in refurbishing its pubs will now top £115m since the pandemic first hit.

It will focus on those near residential neighbourhoods which have benefited from an increase in home working, with improvements to kitchens and outdoor seating areas.

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Meantime, the company’s website shows leases on nine central Edinburgh pubs are available, including the Tolbooth Tavern on the Royal Mile, the Earl of Marchmont in Marchmont Crescent, and Damm on Causewayside.

The others are High Dive and The Auld Hoose, both in St Leonards St; Crosstown in Fountainbridge; 52 Canoes in Westport; Murrayfield in Roseburn Terrace; and The Bonnington in Bonnington Road.

Commenting on the latest investment, Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs & Bars, said: “People have stayed closer to home over the last two years due to the pandemic and turned to their local for the kind of experience they’d previously have travelled to a city centre, restaurant or bar to find.

“People are looking for a really great experience when they go out – these are challenging times.

“However, we are confident that pubs which adapt to pubgoers’ changing needs will have a bright, long-term future.”

In February Star Pubs & Bars announced it was doubling the size of its Scottish managed operator Just Add Talent (JAT) estate. The company currently has six JAT pubs in Scotland. Subject to recruiting new operators, it will create a further seven managed operator pubs this year

JAT is described as a low risk, low cost turnover and profit share model. The ingoing cost is £4,000 compared to at least £10,000 for a leased and tenanted pub and far more to purchase a free house.

Under the JAT agreement, operators run the business but only fund their and their staff’s costs. Star Pubs & Bars pays for all other expenses including utilities, rates, food, drinks and repairs.

The revenue and profit are shared between both parties with no limit on operators’ earnings.

Whilst the managed operator model is widespread in England and Wales, it is still relatively uncommon in Scotland. Star believes rolling out the model will provide a cheaper and lower risk option for those looking to get their first pub.

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