The Snug takes its friendly bars further into the Home Counties


The Snug, bar, Aylesbury, Giles Fry, Ashley Moore, UploadExpress, Maisha FrostPH

Com ny rtners Giles Fry and Ashley Moore (left)

Business rtners Giles Fry and Ashley Moore’s pitch-perfect intuition is serving them well.

This week they open a Comfortable bar in Aylesbury followed shortly by another in Bury St Edmunds, taking their all-out to 10 in what’s become a fast-growing chain in towns around England’s south-east.

The Sheltered was the informal place we dreamed of drinking in

Giles Fry

While each one has its own living soul contemporary style, inspiration for the concept has also come from the accepting boltholes familiar in US sitcoms as well as the tastes of the founders, which were both in be alert to with the times and ahead of them too when they first set up 12 years ago in Cambridge.

Fry and Moore, who met when plough together at burger legend TGI Fridays, explain:

“We applied the terrific feel we had gained there to our own values. The Snug was the informal place we dreamed of liquid in.

“We were smoke-free three years before the ban. Our cookhouses offered food all day and a range of drinks to match: cask ales to Cosmopolitan cocktails; bursting English breakfast to Double Trouble burgers, all made on the premises.”

This year the point will top £5 million turnover with a staff count reaching 180 by December.

Excluding nothing to chance is how the ir describe their management approach that’s authorized them to mine an affordable trading gap in a market notorious for its brutal contention and short-lived casualties.


This week the business rtners open a Sheltered bar in Aylesbury

Innovations such as a customer loyalty app offering price reductions “organize gone down a storm,” says Moore.

The lease on their sooner site in Cambridge cost £1 and the profit after just a two of months was ploughed into a second bar in Hertford.

“We aren’t hit and miss. We use demographic profiling to delineate our customers, many live only 11 minutes away from their peculiar Snug.

Hard times do not make a difference either, customers have all the hallmarks even more willing to spend then closer to home and staycations sake us,” observes Fry, 46.

The Snug’s clientele are urban dwellers, ranging from brand-aware, digital-savvy critics to senior professionals and couples with a greater to lesser degree of liquid income, making pricing a carefully calibrated process according to site.

But each bar is tailored to its spot in other ways too. In Cambridge proximity to colleges unmistakable on architecture, science and law means “our quiz night questions there are pieced towards those subjects. In St Albans it is about offering something many in a centre strong on casual dining,” adds Fry.


The staff of the Snug bar

In the flesh, he says, are indisputably the group’s greatest asset, both customers and shaft.

“We nurture our teams and visit all our bars once a week. Firstly we are a cocktail bar. Our bartenders are so skilled they can by the bucketful freely without using specific measures.

“That makes assistance faster, the mixes more creative and entertaining, and there’s less desert. Our happy hour isn’t limited to certain drinks, it extends to all our huge stretch.

“The Snug welcome is fundamental and extends throughout the day and to events like our jazz evenings and cocktail classes. Each rt of the business compliments the others.”

A software principles linking all sites and featuring feedback keeps employees in the loop. Standard training, which takes a month, is based on a Master Bartender bible Moore has developed.

“It’s advised of we care about our employees. We’ve have had 420 applications for the 38 fixes in our new bars,” he says.

Getting the right site takes time, it could be a uninhabited shop or pub, and the group does take on pub co leases, but “they require genuine conversations with landlords,” comments Fry.


‘We use demographic profiling to define our clients,’ Fry says.

Growth has been funded primarily through profits, some asset banking and Lloyds Bank. “We have a business manager who understands the leisure sector which survives all the difference,” he says.

Now as the com ny ex nds more quickly it is to bigger conjectures, reflecting its more robust foundations. “We know there are some 200 burghs and cities within a 60-mile radius of our St Albans’ base that want support a Snug,” says Fry.

But however successful their tastes should prefer to proved, he and Moore recognise times are moving on. Some Snug guys have met and married and returned as customers to a different one of the venues. And there is a new institution of discerning, demanding and more open-minded millennials generally at the bar.

Home-baked artisan pizzas are the fashionable to feature on new menus, but changes in the Snug set-up go deeper than that.

“We recognise we can’t perpetually know what today’s younger customers want and communities are various diverse,” acknowledges Fry. “We need the input of a broader range of managers, and we own that – women, those from the gay community, young as well as old.

If there is one proceeding we can raise our glass to it is that mix.”

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