The Pesto restaurant chain is planning to open three more pub sites in the next six months - after opening its first restaurant on a pub site last year.
Pesto, which already had two sites in Manchester, one in Liverpool, and one in Glasgow, opened Pesto at the Cabbage Hall (pictured) in a Punch Taverns site in Tarporley, Cheshire, in November 2011.
Neil Gatt, who founded Spanish tapas chain La Tasca, operates Pesto with business partner Sara Edwards. Gatt said: "We're absolutely delighted with the Cabbage Hall. This was a bit of an experiment for us but the feedback is excellent - it has been very well received. Customers at our restaurant in the Trafford Centre tend to want to be in and out quickly. The dwell time at the Cabbage Hall is longer, which means spend per head is around £18 to £20, compared with £12 to £15 at our restaurants."
Gatt and Edwards are now planning to trial the concept at a further three pubs in the next six months. Several sites are being lined up, including a second Punch Taverns venue.
"Pesto in the Pub is going through a proof of concept stage. We will target opening three more Pesto in the Pub sites in the next six months. If it progresses well, we will go flat out on a big expansion."
The Cabbage Hall traded as a restaurant for a decade before Pesto in the Pub opened on the site. Even though it has a restaurant past, the drink trade has risen to around 35% of turnover, which is around 5% more than the Pesto restaurant average.
The company opened its fourth Pesto in August of last year in Glasgow.
Gatt sold the La Tasca business to Penta Capital and a management team led by James Horler for £28.2m in 2001.
By Neil Gerrard
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