Tom Kerridge attacks British pub model

1st July, 2014 by Lucy Shaw

British pubs need to adapt the way they do business or risk going under according to two Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge.

Tom Kerridge

Tom Kerridge

Speaking at the Estrella Damm Gastronomy Congress at the Hurlingham Club in west London yesterday, Kerridge warned that if pubs fail to change they risk closure.

“The pub industry is like the House of Lords – old and stuck in its ways. It needs to look at itself and change. British pubs are closing at an alarming rate so they need to adapt their offering and become more food focused.

“People are changing their drinking habits – they drink less during the day and on week nights so pubs need to change their outlook by doing things like catching the coffee crowd in the morning.”

Kerridge, who runs two Michelin-starred gastropub The Hand & Flowers in Marlow, explained that the need for change acted as the inspiration for his second venture, due to open later this year.

The Hand & Flowers

“I’ve signed a lease on a new place that will offer all-day tapas style dishes. It will be a new concept for a pub that will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“We’ve bought a stove from France and will be embracing solid classic flavours. There will be a rotisserie oven and the kitchen will be in the bar area.

“The space has an “L” shaped bar like Barrafina in Soho. The idea was in part inspired by the tapas bar concept as all of the dishes are designed for sharing.

“The will be 20 covers at the bar and 20 seats around the outside facing the bar. Music will play and important role, there will be small TV screens playing sport without the sound and the chefs will serve the food,” he said.

Kerridge would not disclose the name but revealed that the new site will be a “two minute walk” away from the Hand & Flowers in Marlow and that he’s entrusting the project to his current senior sous chef, Nick Beardshaw.

Dishes at the no bookings pub will range from £6-12, will Kerridge recommending four per person.

“The idea came to me from a need to attack the high street and take people away from coffee shops, brasseries and pizza chains and back into good British pubs via simple dishes. You don’t have to win Michelin stars to make a pub work,” Kerridge insisted.

Having been inundated with offers to open something in London, Kerridge ultimately decided it was too far away for him to be able to make it work.

“I doth my cap to Jason Atherton – I’ve got no idea how he manages to run a global restaurant empire. Lots of coffee I’d imagine,” he said.

Opened by Kerridge in 2005, The Hand & Flowers was awarded its first Michelin star in 2006 and in 2011 made history by becoming the first pub restaurant to win two stars.

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