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Gastro group to boost growth with takeovers

PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 September 2013

The Wildebeest Arms in Stoke Holy Cross.

The Wildebeest Arms in Stoke Holy Cross.

Archant © 2011; 01603 772434

A Norfolk-based independent restaurant group has expanded its horizons beyond the region by snapping up a new business in Northamptonshire.

Animal Inns has bought The Olde Victoria Inn in Burton Latimer, near Kettering, as it targets a rapid expansion through acquisition. The group said the new pub was just the start of a project to grow the business by buying eateries both locally, and into the Midlands.

And as part of the takeover, the group took on The Olde Victoria Inn’s existing 16 new members of staff, which boosted their total workforce to 65.

The deal comes on the back of £250,000 investment to refresh its restaurants in Norfolk after it moved to close the city-centre restaurant Mackintosh’s Canteen at the beginning of this year.

Jez King, co-director of Animal Inns, said he wanted to introduce more customers to the experience the group provides at The Wildebeest at Stoke Holy Cross, The Mad Moose in Norwich and The Hunny Bell at Hunworth.

He said “Ultimately, we want to expand the great experience we are providing in Norfolk to other areas.

“When something comes up, geography is taken into consideration, but it has to be something that we believe in, and an opportunity where we can really deliver our experience to local people.

“We want to build the group further. We have brought in The Olde Victoria Inn, and we will keep making acquisitions where we can feed in the values that Animal Inns believes in.

“And those are based around great service, high operating standards and local products.”

He added: “We have worked very hard in the last 18 months to instil our standards into the people that work for us and they have responded magnificently.”

The Animal Inns Groups was sold to Mr King and his co-director David Cappendell for an undisclosed sum in April last year.

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