New name reflects Group’s ambitious plan for growth in freehold premium pubs and pubs-with-rooms – a market currently underserved in the UK.
- Progress already well under way, with 11 freehold pubs acquired and a further five under offer, including 120 rooms.
- The Group has exchanged on an historic coaching inn with 23 bedrooms, ‘The White Hart’ in Lewes, East Sussex. The inn is famous for being the ‘cradle of American independence’.
- The Group is trading positively and is on track to grow up to 60 sites and up to 500 bedrooms by 2027.
Brasserie Bar Co, the leading UK hospitality Group, is today becoming Heartwood Collection, marking a significant step in the Group’s bold new strategy and evolution into becoming a freehold pub company underpinned by a premium brasserie division.
The move reflects the next natural step for the Group, underlining Heartwood’s ambition to become the market-leading operator of freehold premium pubs and pubs-with-rooms in the UK – a market with significant opportunity for growth, but which currently remains significantly underserved.
Heartwood Collection is the Group that currently operates 20 premium pubs and 14 Brasserie Blanc restaurants across the UK – but which expects to grow significantly as a freehold business in the years ahead.
As a result of this move, White Brasserie Company, one of the Group’s brands will become Heartwood Inns on 6th July.
The name Heartwood is the oldest and inner most core of a tree, as strong as steel and provides the structure from which it can grow and thrive. With over 25 years of experience and some of the best people retention rates in the industry, the new name articulates both the Group’s strong foundations and ambitious growth plans.
The Group takes a long-term approach, and will continue to prioritise the acquisition of atmospheric freehold properties – especially those where there is scope to refurbish or bring back to life.
Heartwood’s offer will be grounded in providing unforgettable moments. This will be achieved via the already winning combination of serving premium quality food within characterful pubs and premium brasseries. Added to this, the Group will become famous for providing memorable overnight stays. Importantly, Heartwood will ensure that each and every one of its pubs and brasseries will play a key role in enhancing the local communities in which they serve.
As part of this move, the leadership team will remain in place – with Mark Derry as Chairman and Richard Ferrier as Managing Director. Raymond Blanc will continue his vital role of directing the menu evolution, the quality of sourcing and the development of outstanding people.
Clear growth ambitions
With the support of its new owners Alchemy, the Group has accelerated its growth plans and has already completed the acquisition of 11 freehold sites over the past twelve months and are close to completing on a further five in the summer of 2023.
Following strong recent trading (showing positive covers and spend per head growth), the Group will continue to focus on acquiring freehold pubs and pubs-with-rooms with the aim of growing to 61 sites by June 2027. As part of this, Heartwood also has the aim of providing nearly 400 boutique bedrooms in the same time period. This will mean the creation of a further 1,500 jobs up and down the UK, representing a significant contribution to local economies, and take the total number of Heartwood employees to 2,700.
While ambitious, Heartwood is confident in its ability to achieve these targets. The strength of its highly skilled people and uniquely attractive proposition of combining seasonality, crafted guest experiences and restaurant-quality food in characterful pub settings, coupled with the significant addressable market in the UK, will support the Group’s journey to achieve them.
New openings and upcoming plans
Momentum is already building, and the Group’s next site – the Black Swan in Henley in Arden, Warwickshire – is due to open in August. The inn will have 120 restaurant seats, 60 seats in the bar and a 100-seat garden. It will benefit from a major extension and will create 60 jobs in the area.
In addition, the Group has acquired the former George Evelyn pub in Long Ditton, Surrey. This is currently in planning and is due to open before the end of 2023.
As part of Heartwood’s move into rooms, the business has exchanged on a 16th century coaching inn, ‘The White Hart’ in Lewes, the county town of East Sussex. The pub is rich with history and is known as the ‘cradle of American independence’, where Thomas Paine forged his radical polices in the debating club of the old inn. His pamphlet “Common Sense” sold half a million copies in 1776 and inspired the ‘Declaration of Independence’, signed later that year.
The Group intends to fully refurbish the property with a new orangery overlooking the South Downs and 23 beautifully designed rooms and suites.
Heartwood anticipates that it will have 150 rooms in the business by June 2024.
Mark Derry, Chairman, Heartwood Collection, said: “As Heartwood Collection, our offer will be grounded in a winning combination of serving premium quality food in atmospheric pubs. More than this, we see real opportunity to leverage our hospitality expertise and become a significant operator of pubs-with-rooms, filling that current gap in the market for memorable boutique stays – at the right price.
This is the right time for us to make this change. Our new name reflects not only the business we are today, but it underlines the ambition we have to become a leading freehold pub business of real scale. With the ongoing support of our new owners Alchemy, we will continue to target the opening of new sites, and I look forward to bringing Heartwood’s pub offer to new towns and local communities throughout the UK.”
Richard Ferrier, Managing Director, Heartwood Collection, commented: “Having experienced a difficult period of not being able to visit their favourite pubs and restaurants during the pandemic, the British public has emerged with a strong desire to eat, drink and take time away in ways that offer quality, reliability and value.
It is against this backdrop that we are becoming Heartwood Collection. We have a proven and attractive pub offer underpinned by skilled-chefs and warm hospitality. It is an offer that our guests love, and in Heartwood Collection, we have a clear platform to achieve accelerated growth in the years ahead. We are already making good progress on growing our pipeline of new sites and we look forward to welcoming regular and new guests through our doors – as well as welcoming new colleagues to the pubs we open.”
Will Smith / El Evans / Chris Salt
Telephone: +44(0) 20 3805 4822
Notes to editors
Heartwood Collection is the Group that operates 20 White Brasserie Company pubs and 14
Brasserie Blanc restaurants across the UK. White Brasserie Company will become Heartwood Inns (6th July) and will be grounded in our already winning combination of premium quality food within characterful pubs. Brasserie Blanc will remain a core part of the Group and is focused on excellent quality seasonal French food in comfortable brasserie settings, located in affluent locations.
Heartwood Collection is backed by Alchemy Partners.
Becoming Heartwood: Heartwood is the oldest and inner most core of a tree. It is as strong as steel and provides the structure from which any tree can grow and thrive. With over 25 years of experience and some of the highest people retention rates in the industry, the new name articulates both the Group’s strong foundations and ambitious growth plans. Heartwood Collection’s current site portfolio is as follows:
The Barley Mow – Englefield Green, Surrey
The Black Horse – Thame, Oxfordshire
The Black Horse – Reigate, Surrey
The Boot – Histon, Cambridge
The Britannia – Parkstone, Poole
The British Queen – Locksbottom, Orpington
The Cricketers – Cobham, Surrey
The Hare – Harrow Weald, Middlesex
The Highwayman – Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
The Jobber’s Rest – Upminster, Essex
The Jolly Farmer – Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire
The King’s Arms – Prestbury, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
The King’s Head – Teddington, Middlesex
The March Hare – Guildford, Surrey
The Oaks – Highcliffe, Christchurch, Dorset
The Queen’s Head – Weybridge, Surrey The Red Deer – Horsham, West Sussex
The Sun Inn – Chobham, Surrey
The White Bear – Ruislip, Middlesex
Brasserie Blanc Restaurants London – Chancery Lane
London – Fulham Reach
London – Southbank
London – Threadneedle Street
Will Smith / El Evans / Chris Salt
Telephone: +44(0) 20 3805 4822
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