One of Birmingham’s most popular pubs is investing £750,000 to buy the property next door and expand.
The Plough, in Harborne, is set to launch “Upstairs at The Plough” in November after a project to add a new first floor extension, which will be home to two new private dining and meeting rooms.
The scheme, which will see the Harborne High Street pub extend into the house next door, will also extend its ground floor by 40 covers.
It will see the workforce at the pub grow to 85 – at a time when 29 pubs a week are closing across the UK.
Director Adam Johnson told the Post: “It is a large investment but there is an awful lot of work in putting new kitchens and meeting rooms in.
“We believe it is the right thing to do because we are at capacity at the moment, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and we are having to turn people away.”
He added: “We are constantly being asked about christenings and meetings, because we are so close to places like the hospital, so we know there is demand.
“We have worked really hard as a group of 75 staff to build it up and always stay a step ahead.”
The property next door currently houses three flats but will bring much-needed extra capacity for the pub , which launched under current ownership in 2003.
Another 10 employees will initially be taken on.
“Upstairs at The Plough” will be home to two flexible private dining rooms with 30 covers combined.
The rooms have been designed to accommodate meetings or conferences with wi-fi and large flat TV screens.
The ground floor renovations will see the arrival of a new bar and a dedicated pizza kitchen and coffee bar.
The work, funded through retained profits and bank loans, is part of a long-term partnership with interior design expert Melony Spencer of Spencer Swinden.
Mr Johnson added: “We open at 8am and close at midnight and we are always looking to stay a step ahead. If you come in during the morning, it is full of people having breakfast, then you get mothers coming in, after they have dropped their children at school, for coffee.
“It is not just about people coming in for a pint from midday. It has moved on from what I would describe as a traditional boozer.”
The expansion comes on the same week the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) announced it was targeting 3,000 pubs in England for listing as so-called Assets of Community Value, which offers them protection against closing . Camra said 29 pubs closed every week in the UK in the past year, with 17 in suburban areas.
Mr Johnson said The Plough had succeeded against this backdrop because of a preparedness to innovate.
He said: “I think sometimes people have a glamorous idea of running a pub as something they’d like to do – retire early and go into it – but the market is so tough that unless you innovate you are dead in the water.
“It is about listening to your customers.”