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Bristol on the menu as Pieminister searches for six new locations

Award winning gourmet pie company Pieminister has gained financial backing to open up six new outlets – and have tasked Bristol-based Williams Gunter Hardwick to identify locations for additional premises in Bristol, Leeds and Manchester, where their current restaurants are trading well, together with new target cities Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

This will increase Pieminister’s restaurant portfolio from 10 to 16, on top of a number of cafes in permanent city centre markets such as Bristol and Oxford. They also supply over 80 pubs a week around the UK with their range of pies and side dishes – all of which are ethically sourced – as well as a number of major supermarkets.

In total, Pieminister is set to triple its current number of restaurants to 30 by 2020. Other long-term targets include Bath, Brighton and Cambridge, as well as further locations in London – such as Brixton, Clapham, Earls Court and Tooting.

“Every new outlet has proved a great success so far,” says Start Williams, Director of Williams Gunter Hardwick, “so we’re comfortable with going further north where there is arguably a stronger tradition of pie cuisine than in most of the south. The challenge is always to find the perfect location: established areas for dining with a good footfall, probably close to entertainment venues.

“While many people look to Pieminister for an evening out with friends, many customers will be attracted by a good quality meal before going on to the cinema, the theatre or a night club.

“Typically,” Williams says, “we are identifying premises with 1,500 to 2,000 sq ft of ground floor space plus 1,000 sq ft of first floor accommodation. But we know the format works well with smaller premises too. We have also seen that Pieminister can have outlets close to one another without affecting trade.”

Jonathan Simon, Managing Director of Pieminister, says that part of the company’s success has been matching each new venue to its location. “We design each new premises in-house, tailoring our distinct ‘look’ to fit in with the surroundings. Our restaurants are also a great way to try out new dishes before making them more widely available though the other channels in which we operate.

“We can always rely on the classic pies, such as steak and ale or chicken and tarragon being best sellers. We continually ask our customers what they’d like from us – and that’s led to our latest vegetarian offering: The Saag Pie-Neer pie with spicy potatoes and paneer cheese, created in response to a suggestion from a customer in Leeds.

“We’ve built up a lot of data now on what our customers want from Pieminister, and that has changed the choice of meals and beverages we offer. Customers are also staying much longer these days since we added different courses, created more vegetarian options and offered a wider range of cocktails and local beers.

“Going to eat at Pieminister,” he says, “is not just about enjoying a great pie at a sensible price. It’s now far more of a destination venue for friends to meet and eat together.”

The full list of target locations can be found at: http://www.wghproperty.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/PIEMINISTER-UK-Requirements-April-2016.pdf

 The Pieminister background

Pieminister offers a delicious range of award winning pies, sides and snacks, served with craft beers, ciders and cocktails. Since it began life in 2003 on Bristol’s Stokes Croft, the company has gained a national reputation, collecting a host of awards for the quality and taste of their products as well as for their commitment to high animal welfare when sourcing ingredients.

Pieminister entered its three newest recipes into the 2016 British Pie Awards this year.  All three were highly commended, coming in the top three in their classes and winning Gold Medals.  The Gluten Free Heidi pie was crowned Class Champion in the Free From Class.

In the 2015 Great Taste Awards, Pieminister received a total of 14 stars for their pies.  This means that as well as the three Christmas specials, every Classic Pieminister pie is a current Great Taste Award winning product.

For the full story of how two friends, Jon Simon and Tristan Hogg, set up the business visit their website, www.pieminister.co.uk.

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