Recent good weather has benefited Oakman Inns & Restaurants Q1 trading, increasing like-for-like sales by 12.4% for the quarter ending 2 July 2017.
Alongside the weather, three fundraising exercises produced over £24m for Oakman Inns this year, allowing for a raft of major developments which will see the group operating an anticipated 30 units within the next two years.
The funding came from: a senior debt deal with Santander providing £7m of growth capital; an Oakman Bond which closed having raised £10.3m; and a further £7m which was raised through Downing Crowdfunding.
The most recent Downing Crowdfunding campaign raised £2.5m. Oakman Inns sold bonds equating to 60% of the face value of the freehold of the Royal Foresters in Ascot to investors. The bonds, which are secured against the property, sold out in a day.
Oakman Inns is awaiting planning permission for a £5.2m redevelopment of the Royal Foresters in Ascot.
Planning permission has been granted for the £1.8 million development of the Cherry Tree in Olney which is now expected to open in early 2018. Oakman also recently gained planning permission to extend and refurbish the Betsey Wynne in Swanbourne and the site is now closed with the £1.3m project completing in August.
Work will commence in August on the fourth Beech House with a £1.m investment in a large site in central Amersham which is expected to be open in November this year.
Oakman Inns has acquired the building next door to their flagship site, the Akeman in Tring, and will extend and refurbish the site in a £600,000 project with completion due for October this year.
CEO Peter Borg-Neal said: “The financial impact of the swingeing imposition of ridiculous increases in business rates has actually reduced the number of sites we will be opening in the next twelve months by two. Nevertheless, we still have an excellent pipeline in place and it looks like being an exciting twelve months ahead of us. Given the challenges that come with expanding a business, our decision to build up a strong central support team ahead of this growth looks to be fully vindicated.
“I would recognise that there are some uncertainties in the wider economy that may present challenges to our industry. However, the Oakman strategy remains the same. We intend to think in clear and simple terms about what matters to this evolving market and will retain a focus on quality, great people and excellent sites. We see further opportunity to obtain sites where we identify strong consumer demand alongside poor supply side provision – with places such as Harpenden, the Chalfonts and the Bedford area being among our key targets.”
Videos from The Caterer archives