Magazine Archive


Plan ahead by looking back

Last month I paid a visit to Leeds to check out some of the sites from Arc Inspirations, as well as have a chat with the bar group’s founder, Martin Wolstencroft (page 20).

Every time I walk out of Leeds train station, I do spare a thought for the operators who aren’t based in the city centre – it does seem that anything and everything you could want from the on-trade is only a few minutes on from the mainline travel hub. Coffee shops, restaurants, bars, taprooms, a whopping great big shopping centre in Trinity – it’s got the lot and it’s all accessible by foot. If you’re running a pub away from this hustle and bustle, it must be difficult to compete for custom.

This clustering of concepts is highly convenient to the modern consumer, as it means they can experience all levels of hospitality within one night/day out by just hopping from place to place in one central area. Such convenience hasn’t gone unnoticed by Wolstencroft and his Arc team, as it’s this cluster model of operating that the group is now specialising in. Through its three key concepts – Banyan, The Box and Manahatta – Arc is able to offer casual but consistent food and drink, live sport, late-night cocktails and dependable service. All three of those brands can be found within a stone’s throw of each other once you’re in the city, meaning Wolstencroft can have a crack at capturing pretty much all of the demographics that hit the high street, no matter what time of day. It’s working in Leeds and the group is now taking the model into a number of other northern cities.

If clustering is the future of city centre operations, those businesses need to be sure that all internal elements of operations are as contemporary as the overall strategy. As this is our final issue of 2019, we’ve taken a look at five key areas that pub and bar operators should be considering when assessing their outlets and ideas for 2020 (page 30). However, this doesn’t always mean looking forward – in order to plan ahead, it’s worth looking back on the food, drink and equipment that hit the market this year to gauge whether or not they’ll still be in demand over the next 12 months (page 32).

I hope you all enjoy a thriving festive period across all of your sites – we’ll be back in January.

Tristan O’Hana - Editor