THE FAMILY-OWNED OHH Pub group, led by Mark Warburton (32) and based in the West Country, has announced a joint venture with Enterprise Inns which will see the group open a fourth site in the Spring. The two partners will make a £350,000 investment to transform the George Inn in Braunton, North Devon, to bring it up to the standard of OHH’s other properties, which both have 5 AA Stars.
The Bear & Swan in Chew Magna, near Bristol, has just achieved the prestigious hallmark of the country’s highest quality ‘Inns with Rooms’, to bring it in line with their Old House at Home near Castle Combe, in Wiltshire, and Northey Arms (pictured above) near Bath.
The Bear and Swan currently has four bedrooms which were introduced this year, with two more to be introduced in the New Year. The Northey has just completed an annexe with the construction of five more bedrooms and a fully equipped conference room for business meetings. The company expects to announce a fifth site in the coming weeks and has plans to expand quickly to achieve double figures within five years.
“Whilst turning a profit is vital, it is important to operate a company of which we are extremely proud. I believe we have now laid the groundwork from which to create a substantial enterprise,” Mark Warburton, MD of OHH, told Essential Journeys. “We are a family firm which has been in the licensed trade for over 30 years, with considerable experience of the business, and will remain hand-on as we recognise the importance of having a motivated staff and understanding changing customer needs.”
OHH identified The George as the prime target as its latest acquisition near to renowned Saunton Sands Hotel, overlooking the three-mile long stretch of beach, which offers some of the best surfing in the country. Golfers are attracted by Saunton Sands Golf Club, which has two of the country’s finest links courses. Nearby Barnstable also attracts a steady flow of business clientele. Research into the local demographics indicates that there is a potential clientele with a significant disposable income within a short distance of The George.
“We have looked at the local competition and are please to say it’s of a very high standard. Strong rival businesses are a fantastic incentive to drive the business forward and cut out inconsistencies. A diversity of local offerings attract greater numbers of visitors to the area, so everyone benefits from the increased trade,” said Mark, who recognises that to succeed it is also important to capture the local community with reasonably priced, well-kept drinks.
The substantial investment will bring The George into line with the group’s other 5 AA starred properties. A complete overhaul will introduce the factors that have made OHH’s current sites so successful. This will include consistent colour schemes, fixtures and fittings and layout to accommodate a regular drinking trade alongside the diners. The rooms, designed by Mark’s mother, Sally, will project a coherent OHH brand image.
Whilst Mark is focused on operations, Matt, a qualified sommelier, is responsible for the group’s wet sales. His introduction of ‘Le Verre du Vin’ technology, which removes the air from opened bottles, means that the pubs offer an extensive selection of new and old-world wines by three glass sizes: 125ml, 175ml and 250ml. The bars also stock a good range of ales, lagers and ciders. The food is the remit of Roux-trained executive chef, Chris Alderson. Recognised by leading restaurant guides, including Michelin, the restaurants source local, fresh quality produce to offer modern British food of an exceptional standard.
Bear and Swan, 13 South Parade, Chew Magna, Bristol BS40 8PR
T: 01275 331100 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Old House at Home, Burton, Wilts SN14 7LT
T: 01454 218227 E: email@example.com
Northey Arms, Bath Road, Box, Wilts SN14 8AE
T: 01225 742333 E: firstname.lastname@example.org