'How I turned over an extra £250,000 a year from my pub kitchen' says Banbury landlord

Ian and his family outside the Ye Olde Reine Deer InnIan and his family outside the Ye Olde Reine Deer Inn
Ian and his family outside the Ye Olde Reine Deer Inn
““In my experience our turnover from food is three times more than an average pub of this size”

During what is an incredibly tough time pubs, one Banbury landlord has managed to turn over an extra £250,000 a year from his pub kitchen.

Ian Thomas took on Ye Olde Reine Deer Inn in Banbury at the start of the pandemic and knew that food would be the key to his success, so he has turned his kitchen into a 'host delivery kitchen' for five fast food delivery brands.

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Ian, originally from Southend, had 20 years’ experience managing major pubs and nightclubs in and around London and Essex.

But then in 2020, mid moving roles, the global pandemic hit and he found himself without a job, no access to furlough and unqualified for government support.

With two children, and plans for a third, the next six months living in London were hard. He used his time to nail down exactly what he wanted – to work for himself, in his own venue, serving food, outside of the city.

Later that year he bought Ye Olde Reine Deer Inn and, in his words, 'it was exactly what he was looking for'.

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From here he devised the Reindeer and the Chicken menu, bought a big oven which he could cook 12-plus chickens on a spit in 40 minutes and opened in September 2020.

The following six months were tricky due to lockdowns – he was open for October, closed for November, open for December then closed for January, February and March. But Ian spent the time improving his kitchen, building seating and revamping the WiFi.

During this time he also found out about becoming a 'host kitchen' with the business Kbox which involves cooking other brand’s menus for local delivery and in house. So transformed his kitchen into a host kitchen for five additional delivery food brands during the pandemic – and watched his business grow.

Ian said: “I started on a Thursday night and I remember asking my wife to put through a delivery order just to check it worked. The ticket came through straight away, then another, and another and the next day was even busier. By the end of July we reached a high of over 60 orders on one day.

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“The next few months went from strength to strength. We went from making a few hundred pounds a week to over £7,000 a week in just five months. Our turnover on take away was £247,000 in the first 12 months of working with Kbox.”

A year and a half later and Ye Olde Reine Deer Inn is still going strong, with up to 60 per cent of its turnover coming solely from food orders.

Ian explained: “In my experience our turnover from food is three times more than an average pub of this size. The takeaway element of the business has definitely had a positive impact on the pub. We have huge peaks at lunch and dinner, with our chicken and vegan options being the drivers."