North East Pub Operator Takes Third Site with Star Pubs & Bars

15th April 2014

North Eastern leased pub operator JM Pubs Ltd, owned by Andrew McKenzie, has taken its third site with Star Pubs & Bars, the Londonderry Arms at Long Newton.

A former chef, McKenzie entered the pub industry five years ago when he took his first lease with Star Pubs & Bars on the Jolly Farmers at Stockton on Tees. This was followed two years later by a lease on the Penny Black, also in Stockton.

Situated in the middle of Long Newtown village, the Londonderry Arms is a destination food pub that attracts trade from Stockton and Darlington as well as from the immediate area. The pub is a spacious one bar operation with room for 70 covers and is in excellent condition. The site also boasts a beer garden, children's play area and a five-berth caravan park. Known for its restaurant standard food, the Londonderry Arms' trade is a 30/70 wet/dry split.

All three of McKenzie's pubs are in close proximity making them easy to manage but the pubs are diverse in nature. The Jolly Farmers is a wet only community local while the Penny Black is a suburban community pub with traditional pub food accounting for 60% of trade.

Says McKenzie, "The Londonderry Arms is a great pub and as a multi faceted business offers plenty of scope for growth. I'll be using my catering background to develop the food side further both in terms of reputation and by expanding into events. There is also potential to make much more of the children's play area and the caravan park in drawing in customers.

"I have a strong relationship with Star Pubs & Bars. Their business advice is excellent and has helped me to identify new opportunities to grow my company without over stretching myself. Heineken's backing is reassuring and offers me a massive range of beers backed up by fantastic support."

McKenzie is interested in expanding JM Pubs Ltd further and in new opportunities in the Stockton area.

Says Star Pubs & Bars trading director Chris Jowsey, "Business development, building long term partnerships with our lessees and, where appropriate, helping existing operators take on additional pubs are priorities for us. Increasing numbers of our lessees are interested in signing additional leases with Star Pubs & Bars and are actively doing so. The rewards of expansion can be great but taking on another site is always a big step. As with JM Pubs Ltd, the key to success is finding the right opportunities and ensuring that growth is carefully managed."