Seafood Pub Co boss looks back on 'rewarding' 12 months since rebirth following shock closures

Lancashire restaurateur Joycelyn Neve has reflected on the first 12 months of the new life of her Seafood Pub Company, which dramatically collapsed at the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

It is a year since The Oakman Group acquired Joycelyn Neve’s six North-West Seafood Pubs to form their new Seafood PubCo (SPC) division.

The lifting of the second stage of Covid restrictions, which began last May for indoor hospitality, also marked the first chapter in a new life for the celebrated chain of Lancashire and Yorkshire gastropubs which went into administration at the beginning of the pandemic last year.

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Joycelyn Neve, MD Seafood PubCo division of The Oakman Group

Six of the former Seafood Pub Company's properties - the Forest, Fence, The Fleece, Addingham, the Farmers Arms, Great Eccleston, The Derby Arms, Longridge, The Alma Inn, Colne, and The Fenwick, at Claughton, near Lancaster, came under the ownership of the Oakman Group.

Reflecting on her first year as a divisional MD at The Oakman Group, Joycelyn Neve said: “I have really enjoyed becoming part of the Oakman family and it is great to be surrounded by people who are on my side and know what they are doing.

"It’s been a busy and very rewarding 12 months. We relaunched the six original Seafood Pub sites back in May 21 after significant renovations and investment in the properties. Trading in those six pubs is 21.5% ahead of pre-Covid performance, and we are delighted with the results.”

Monday March 28th saw the opening of their new southern flagship, The Grand Junction Arms in Tring.

Joycelyn added: “We converted The Pointer at Brill in Buckinghamshire into a Seafood Pub in October, which is also trading ahead of expectation. The Grand Junction Arms brings us up to eight and we have another two sites in the immediate pipeline – one in Buckinghamshire and another in Lancashire.

“Consequently, this is an incredibly exciting time for the Seafood PubCo. Combining what was always a great brand with the best-in-class team at Oakman has given us the bandwidth and firepower to achieve the growth and results we are delivering.”

Peter Borg-Neal, the founder and executive chairman of The Oakman Group said: “The SPC acquisition has been a great success for The Oakman Group. As expected, it has been a good cultural fit and the business has seamlessly merged into the Oakman family.”